Bihar liquor ban proposal evokes mixed reactions

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:23 pm IST

Published - November 28, 2015 02:08 am IST - Patna:

A day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a complete ban on liquor in Bihar from April 1 next year, public opinion has been mixed. While some rejoiced at the news, there were others who wondered if it was practical, arguing that “prohibition has never worked in other States.”

The Hindu spoke to people from different walks of life to know how they saw the proposed decision. Would it have a beneficial impact on society or will it increase black marketing as has happened in other States where liquor has been banned for long?

“We all know the history. In every State where liquor is banned corruption and black marketing have increased manifold,” Jai Prakash, noted theatre artist of Patna, said. Liquor shop retailer Mahendra Singh said banning was never a solution. “The sale of pan masala and gutkha is already banned in several States but one can get it at every nook and corner of every city. The same thing will happen with liquor also. Instead of banning it, the government should check illegal sale.” Mr. Singh said the government decision would also affect over 5,000 liquor retailer shop owners and their families.

Others like teachers, doctors, government employees and working professionals supported the Chief Minister, but agreed that “it would be a Herculean task to implement it in letter and in spirit.”

“For a large section of the people here, alcohol is in their blood,” said Sanjay Kumar, a doctor. “In our view, the sale of liquor should be monitored strictly. The mushrooming of liquor shops must be stopped,” he said.

However, women from the villages who had confronted Mr. Nitish Kumar at a programme in Patna on July 11 this year seeking the ban, expressed happiness. The women of Naya Gaon in Chhapra who had attacked country liquor shops on September 5 and chased away liquor businessmen, had expressed their gratitude to Mr. Kumar.

“It was more urgent than opening a hospital or a school as liquor was gradually ruining our households,” said Anita Devi of Sobhepur village.

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