Govt considering ban on hookah bars: Karnataka Home Minister

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Bengaluru, Feb 2 (PTI) Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said the state government is seriously considering a ban on hookah bars in the state.

'Hookah bars are a serious matter. Some of them are in restaurants, while some are standalone in cities such as Bengaluru and Mysuru,' Bommai said.

Responding to a question raised by Congress member Sowmya Reddy in the legislative Assembly, he said, local bodies like Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) give licence to them, we are conducting raids and booking cases against them, already over 70 cases have been booked in Bengaluru alone this year.

'It is not enough, youth are getting attracted to Hookah bars. I have asked officials to study regarding action taken or ban on hookah bars in other states. We are seriously considering banning the hookah bars...we will bring in necessary lawas,' he said, adding that the cooperation from BBMP and other local bodies who are the licensing authority was important.

Raising the issue, Sowmya Reddy said drugs were still available in hookah bars and cafes, and called for sustained action against drugs.

Regarding drug abuse, the Minister said, it is present from slums to the elite, educated to the illiterate, also students, and the government has taken it seriously and will continue its 'war on drugs.' 'Earlier, only ganja was seized, but we're going after synthetic drugs coming in the form of tablets and chocolates,' he said, adding that the number of cases against drugs has gone up from 127 in 2016 to 2,786 in 2020.PTI KSU SS PTI PTI