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No check on sale of hookah, charcoal at Panjab University campus shops

No check on sale of hookah, charcoal at Panjab University campus shops

A hookah and charcoal bought from a shop on the Panjab University campus.



Tribune News Service

Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, June 17

Hookahs and charcoal discs (polo) are being sold on the Panjab University campus right under the nose of the authorities. A shop located on the Sector 14 campus is selling hookahs for prices ranging from Rs 700 to 1,000 and a 10-piece charcoal disc pack for Rs 55.

Hookahs were displayed at a shop, which is located a stone’s throw from the security staff’s booth (Gate No. 2). While admitting that they sell hookahs, a man at the shop denied selling charcoal. “We have kept hookahs, as it’s a gift item. However, we don’t sell charcoal,” replied the man at the shop when this correspondent made an inquiry over the phone on Monday evening. When asked if it’s legal to sell hookahs or charcoal on the campus, he said, “We are not selling flavoured tobacco. It (hookah) is a gift item and also used for decoration in homes.”

The invoice issued against the purchase.

While the man claimed they didn’t sell charcoal, this correspondent had purchased a hookah (small size) and a pack of charcoal discs (polo) from the shop in the afternoon. A bill was also issued against the purchase. The invoice (No. 002252) clearly mentions the purchase of “coal” and “hooka” (hookah) for Rs 775.

The university authorities were caught unawares when questioned about the availability of hookahs on the campus. “I have asked the officials concerned to check and report. We will initiate action, including eviction of shopkeepers, if the claim was found to be true,” said Yajvender Pal Verma, Registrar, Panjab University. Vice-Chancellor Renu Vig said, “It is not allowed (selling of hookahs).

Shopkeeper's eviction is also a possibility, if the claim is found to be true." Sources claim the officials concerned spotted the shop in the evening and asked the owner to stop selling such products. Most of the shops on the university campus sell products related to stationery, household, dairy and others. As the campus also has residential units, household goods of daily use are allowed to be sold on the campus – barring tobacco products and liquor. “The authorities should be held equally responsible. The products are being displayed openly and no one is bothered about taking any action. Even if it’s for a gift purpose, it can’t be sold on the campus,” said a senior official of the university. The sources claimed regular checks were conducted by the university authorities on the campus. However, nothing is put on record in this connection. In the evening, in a reply to a note sent by the university authorities seeking explanation on the issue, the shopkeeper said, "We have decorative hookah showpieces for sale." He, however, didn't mention selling charcoal discs of a specific brand in the reply.

Hookah sale not allowed: Vice-Chancellor

When asked about the availability of hookahs and charcoal at shops on the campus, Vice-Chancellor Renu Vig said, "It is not allowed (selling of hookahs). Shopkeeper's eviction is also a possibility, if the claim is found to be true."

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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