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Hookah bars, widely in existence in restaurants and bars across the national capital, today came under the lens of the National Green Tribunal which sought replies from the government on the issue.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment of Forests, city government, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the police and sought their reply.
The green panel also directed the Delhi government to furnish a list of all restaurants and bars in the city which permit hookah smoking within their premises.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, a BJP MLA from Rajouri Garden, seeking immediate ban on hookah bars in the national capital.
The plea filed through advocate Vivek Chib contended that that the ambient air quality standards in public places such as restaurants and bars were dangerously higher than the prescribed norms.
Referring to the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules 2008, the plea said these rules are being openly flouted by various restaurants and hookah bars in Delhi wherein hookah, as a tobacco product, is being permitted to be smoked in open spaces without designating any part of its premises as a smoking area.
"Direct MoEF to issue directions under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act 1986 against such person or entities who have been polluting indoor ambient air in restaurants and bars and such other public places in Delhi by selling hookah or permitting hookah smoking in its premises," the plea said.
Sirsa had earlier alleged that hookah bars were "ruining" the youth of Delhi by turning them into "drug addicts".
"Despite launch of a campaign in the country to contain use of tobacco and ban hookah bars, most hookah bars in Delhi are running on restaurant licenses illegally and selling products that are harmful for the youth," he had earlier said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)