Gandhinagar, Dec 15: The Gujarat government on Thursday approved an ordinance to ban hookah bars across the state. The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
"From today, it will be a cognisable offence to operate a hookah bar in the state. The penalty for running the bar would be imprisonment of one to three years and fine between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000," state Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told rporters here.
The Gujarat Police had earlier forced several hookah bars across the state to shut down over the issue of license. However, the hookah bar owners challenged the action in the courts, which ruled in their favour. After this, the bars re-opened and many more mushroomed in several cities.
Jadeja said the government had brought in the provision because many youngsters were falling prey to the habit and getting into debt. "Eventually some of them got involved in anti-social behaviour. It became a matter of concern."