‘Free hand’ for cops on crackdown of hookah bars
City mayor Firhad Hakim on Friday said police were free to act against hookah bars operating without a licence and that he spoke with the police commissioner regarding an impending ban on all hookah bars.
On December 2, Hakim had said the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) would stop issuing fresh licences to hookah bars and issue a notification announcing that all existing licences had been cancelled.
He later told Metro that it would take about two weeks to issue the notification.
When asked about the notification on Friday, Hakim said: “There are some legal procedures involved. It will take some time.”
CMC officials have said that they have issued only about 40 licences for hookah bars, but the number of hookah bars in the city was many times more.
The owner of a hookah bar in the Beckbagan area told Metro earlier most of the hookah bars were running after they got a verbal nod from the police to operate. They did not have any document that allowed the operation of the hookah bar.
The police had swung into action after the mayor’s announcement on hookah bars and arrested four persons from three bars in two days. The bars that were raided were on Bidhan Sarani in the Tallah police station area, and on Rajdanga Main Road in Kasba.
Four hookah sets were seized, the police said. All the cases were registered under Sections 188 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 20(2) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003.
When asked about the police’s action after his announcement on December 2, Hakim said on Friday: “Many hookah bars do not have licences. The police can act against them.” “I have spoken with the commissioner. He has promised to look into the matter,” Hakim added.