Hyderabad: Many middle-class and gullible parents were properly horrified these last few days after a few channels aired footage of youngsters dancing and smoking hookah. But youngsters seem least bothered with the police raids on hookah parlours. The reason is simple enough. In this Nawabi city, it’s pretty easy to buy a hookah.
“There is so much of fuss about hookahs just because the police have started to crack the whip. My friends and I have been smoking hookah for a long time and by the way, buying a pot is no big deal,” claims Krishna, a student of CBIT.
Hookah pots are available in different colours, shapes and sizes at even pan shops at a few places in the twin cities. Most of their customers, needless to say, are youngsters. To name a few, the Citizen Pan Shop in West Marredpally and the Dimmy Pan Palace in Sindhi Colony regularly sell pots.Do they sell them to minors? It is anybody’s guess.
“A hookah pot can be bought for just Rs 600 -750. It will cost us more than that if we go to a parlour three times. We have been using one for years, and if we prepare it ourselves, we can even add the flavour of our choice,” explains Kedar Subedar, a second-year engineering student. His junior Siddarth (name changed) reveals that he and his friends have been smoking hookah since their school days, in groups. The police seem unaware of this retail selling of hookahs.
North zone DCP C Srikanth, under whose jurisdiction West Marredapally comes, said he hadn’t received any complaints against any pan shops selling hookahs. “We will look into the matter and ask the police in the area to check it,” he added. Tarun Joshi, DCP of Central Zone, also said such a complaint hadn’t come to his notice.
“I will verify the information and check it out. If anything suspicious is noticed, we will definitely take action,” he added. The other outlets which sell hookahs have valid licence like the Arabian Nights which has put up a notice stating that minors will not be entertained. Even those above 18 will have to submit identity proof to buy hookahs.
“Arabian Nights manufactures and sells all the materials to other places in the city. This is the only branch in the entire state,” says Mohd Alauddin, who manages the store. The outlet is registered under the Retailers Branch Association of India. He explains that there is just 0.5 % of nicotine or tobacco present in the flavours used, but admits that many parlours use nicotine/narcotic substances in the hookah.