Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced today that total prohibition has been enforced with immediate effect.
Patna: The sale and consumption of all forms of alcohol has been banned in the state of Bihar with immediate effect today. The total prohibition follows a ban imposed on April 1 on the sale and consumption of country and spiced liquor in rural areas. The decision was announced earlier today after a cabinet meeting.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that while the alcohol licences of hotels, clubs and bars would be revoked, this ban would not affect army cantonments, as they are allowed to regulate the consumption and sale of liquor independently.
Kumar said that companies within the state can continue to manufacture liquor even after the ban, but that they will not be permitted to trade it within the state. These companies will have to follow rules, such as the installation of a digital lock system and GPS monitoring equipment in vehicles containing liquor being transported out of the state.
He added that the Excise Department would prepare an action plan to deal with the nearly 36,000 litres of foreign liquor that is currently in the possession of the Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited.
So far, 4,933 people — including consumers and illegal manufacturers — have been imprisoned since prohibition was introduced in the state. About 1.17 crore ‘promise papers’ have been submitted by school students, after making their parents promise not to consume alcohol.
Kumar said that over 8,400 nukkad nataks (street plays) have been performed and 7 lakh slogans written across the state as part of the state’s anti-liquor campaign.
To address the impact of the ban on the workers who make liquor from fermented toddy, Kumar has set up a high-level committee, led by the development commissioner and consisting of principal secretaries of various state departments, such as industries, forest and environment, excise, cooperative and the milk cooperative federation.
In association with the Agriculture University of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, the committee will work out how to make the use of toddy tree products more profitable. The committee is expected to produce a scheme to be put into action from 2017. In addition, the state government has promised to provide technical and financial support to these workers.
Kumar said that mats and baskets can be woven from toddy tree materials, and that a survey has revealed that the sale of these products would be more profitable than the sale of fermented toddy.
(with inputs from PTI)