New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal today pulled up the Delhi government for not furnishing a list of restaurants and bars in the city which permit hookah smoking on their premises and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on it.
A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim also directed the AAP government to submit the data within 10 days from today.
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.
During the hearing, advocate S S Ahluwalia, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that neither has the government carried out searches nor has it produced the list of restaurants serving hookah as per the December 12, 2017 order of the tribunal.
The bench asked the government counsel as to why it had failed to submit the data. The counsel sought more time to furnish the information but the bench said that it would have to do it in 10 days The matter has been posted for next hearing on May 18.
Sirsa had 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 had 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 had 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 on hookah bars, most hookah bars in Delhi are running on restaurant licences illegally and selling products that are harmful for the youth,” he had earlier said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.