Bihar turns dry after Nitish imposes total liquor ban
The Bihar cabinet on Tuesday passed an order bringing even Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) under the ambit of the ban with immediate effect.
With Bihar going completely dry, the only ‘wet’ islands in the state would be the cantonment areas. The sale of alcohol in cantonment areas is regulated by the Defence Ministry and is beyond the purview of the state government.
Nitish Kumar had promised prohibition in the state during the election campaign last year, which endeared him to women voters in the state. On assuming office he banned sale and consumption of country and spiced liquor in rural areas from April 1 this year, but had allowed sale of foreign liquor in towns and cities.
“The tremendous response of people particularly women and children against liquor in Patna and other towns in a short period of four days only convinced us that a conducive environment for banning alcohol has been created in the state and that’s why we decided to go for total prohibition after four days only,” he said.
On toddy, which has created controversy in recent days following intervention of RJD president Lalu Prasad against its stoppage in view of interest of people associated with the trade, Kumar said that the Cabinet decided to strictly impose the 1991 guidelines which allowed the consumption of ‘neera’ (drink from palm trees before sunrise) but disallowed the consumption of toddy (after sunrise when the palm tree liquid gets fermented and gains alcoholic properties).
The 1991 guidelines prohibited the sale and consumption of ‘neera’ within 50 metre of places like hospital, education institutions, religious places among others in towns and 100 metre radius in rural areas, he added.
Kumar said that no license would be granted for sale and consumption of alcohol in places such as hotels, club and bars in towns and cities too with immediate effect. Asked about fate of liquor manufacturing companies and distilleries existing in the state, he said they could continue manufacture but cannot trade within the State.
“Besides, they have to abide by rules like having a digital lock system and the GPS monitoring equipment in vehicles transporting the liquor manufactured in outlets in Bihar to places outside the state for sale,” he said.