Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], December 3 (ANI): Hookah parlour owners in Kolkata on Saturday voiced their misgivings over the announcement of Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, ordering all such establishments to close down, citing an adverse impact on the health of the youth.

Hakim, who heads the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), the municipal authority in Kolkata, announced the closure of the hookah parlour, adding that the civic body will cancel the licences of all restaurants that run hookah bars.

"I request all hookah bar operators, especially those in enclosed spaces, to close their establishments. I request the police to be strict in ensuring that no such establishment is allowed to operate in the city. We'll not issue new licenses and enlistment certificates to these hook parlours and will also revoke licences granted earlier," the Mayor said.

Bijendra Gupta, who owns a hookah parlour in Kolkata, called out the KMC over its sudden decision to close such establishments, saying that the city civic administration, should, instead, stipulate some rules and regulations pertaining to hookah parlours.

"There is no ban on the sale of liquor despite it being injurious to health. However, there are certain rules on the sale of liquor in the city. I believe that the KMC should also come out with similar rules for hookah parlours to ensure that they remain in business. Crores are spent to set up a hookah parlour and such a sudden decision for us to close down without any prior notice will deal a big blow to our business," Gupta told ANI.

Questioning if the KMC would take care of the staffers at such establishments, who stand to lose their jobs as a result of this order, Gupta said, "All hookah parlours are not into illegal practices. Action should be taken against those which are."While not commenting on the KMC's decision, the staffers at the city's hookah parlours said the civic administration should also think about their future.

"We cannot comment on the KMC's decision but while the state is concerned about the health of the city's youth, they should also show similar concern for our future. I have been working at a hookah parlour for four years and my family members are dependent entirely on whatever I earn from this job. We request the KMC to rethink its decision," Rohan Sahoo, a staffer at a hookah parlour in the city, told ANI. (ANI)

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