Jharkhand cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to blanket ban the operations and establishments of hookah bars in the state. The one found guilty of flouting the rules will have to face imprisonment for up to one year and a fine worth Rs 1 lakh.
The ministerial council led by Jharkhand Chief Minister has approved a bill which aimed at amending some provisions of the COTPA Act, 2003. “The bill entails that those who are apprehended while smoking in public will be fined Rs 1,000. As per COTPA’s provisions, the fine was fixed at Rs 200 earlier. Further, the minimum age for buying tobacco products in the state will be raised to 21 years from 18,” said cabinet secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh after the meeting.
“No tobacco sellers will be allowed to operate within a 100-meter radius of hospitals, courts, government offices, schools, and educational institutions. The sellers cannot sell loose cigarettes and beedis either,” Singh said.
The cabinet has also approved Jharkhand Green Energy Cess Bill, 2021. As per this new Bill, Rs 0.15 cess will be levied on the companies which produce power from conventional sources, organizations which use high voltage transmission lines of 33KV, and industrial units that have their own captive power production units that have their own captive power production units.
The cess will not be levied on the power companies whose 51% ownership is held by the government.
The cabinet has also proposed to raise the wages of MGNREGA workers by Rs 31 which is Rs 194 currently. “The increase in wages will be borne by the state government. For it, the cabinet approved an additional allocation of Rs 341 crore,” Singh said.
The bills will be tabled in the upcoming budget session of Jharkhand assembly.