Two days after the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, ordered the strict implementation of the Prohibition Act by cracking down on liquor suppliers, the chairman of the National Parliamentary Council of JD(U) Upendra Kushwaha deeply embarrassed him by saying say the ban in the state had not been successful. Kushwaha also noted the role of the people of the state in enforcing the ban, saying that the ban on liquor could never be a success just because the government envisioned it that way.
According to a report published by India todayKushwaha said on Thursday that the ban had not been successful in Bihar, giving political fodder to the opposition BJP with whom the party recently split.
But Kushwaha claimed that the ban was of enormous benefit to society in general, even if it had not been so successful in Bihar. “If the sale of liquor in Bihar is stopped, so will its consumption. The ban will only be successful if the people of the state want it. A ban can never succeed just because the government wants it. Although the prohibition law in Bihar has not been successful, society has benefited immensely as fewer people now consume liquor and as a result there are fewer crimes,” Kushwaha said in the report, adding that a ban will be more beneficial if implemented more strictly.
Almost delighted with Kushwaha’s statement, the BJP said the JD(U) leader was a “more honest socialist than Nitish Kumar”. The saffron party pronounced the ban as a failure and said crime was only getting worse every day.
“Janata Dal United leader Upendra Kushwaha is undoubtedly a more honest socialist than Nitish Kumar. Alcohol prohibition is a failure and crime is on the rise. People are suffering from the parallel economy and crimes, which have increased due to the ban,” said BJP leader Nikhil Anand.
On November 7, Prime Minister Nitish Kumar chaired a meeting of top officials in his office and asked them to ensure strict implementation of the Prohibition Act, focusing on curbing the supply of liquor to the state. Kumar asked them to identify the routes used to smuggle liquor from other states into Bihar.
The liquor ban was enforced in Bihar in April 2016. Shortly after the meeting, Chief Secretary Amir Subhani said: “The CM has made it clear that the focus of the Police, Prohibition and Excise departments should be to break all liquor supply and distribution chains. about the state. If those involved in the supply and distribution of liquor to Bihar are caught, the availability of liquor is automatically checked.”
He added: “Therefore, the priority of officials should be to identify the routes by which liquor is smuggled from other states into Bihar and to arrest those involved in this illegal trade.”
Under the law, a person caught for the first time for consuming alcohol will be fined Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, Subhani said. “If the first offender does not pay the fine, he or she will be jailed for 30 days. The second offender will not be exempted under the law and he or she will have to serve a one-year prison term,” he said.
Nearly 20,000 people were arrested in October for violating the Prohibition Act, said KK Pathak, the additional chief secretary of the Excise and Registration Prohibition Department.
(with PTI inputs)
Read all Latest political news here