Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today exhorted women not to hesitate in destroying the country liquor manufacturing units after April 1, the day prohibition on country liquor will come into force in Bihar.
“Do not hesitate to destroy ‘bhattis’ (manufacturing units of country liquor) if need arises and complaint to the call centre,” Kumar said while launching a campaign to make prohibition a mass movement in the state.
The Chief minister said a designated cell would be set up in Patna for strict monitoring of prohibition decision and its telephone numbers would be advertised so that citizens could inform, if they see illegal trade in liquor after prohibition comes into force.
Urging women to make the liquor ban in Bihar a mass movement, Kumar said he decided to go for it to fulfil his poll promise that if he returned to power, their wish to stop sale of liquor which ruins families would be fulfilled.
Prohibition will be imposed in Bihar in phases as part of which there would be a total ban on country liquor from April 1, Kumar said.
However, India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) would be available in municipal and town council areas at limited government outlets run by Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited, which operates under the state excise department.
“After six months, sale of IMFL will also be stopped and there will be a complete ban on liquor,” he said.
On the criticism by opposition on rationale in allowing sale of IMFL while banning country liquor from April 1, 2016, Kumar said this decision has been taken to make the plan practical and implementable.
In an apparent dig at states where prohibition is in place, Kumar said, “We don’t want to go like them where there is prohibition on liquor but alcohol is available at home on payment secretly.”
Bihar government has written to neighbouring states requesting them to order strict vigil on bordering districts to ensure illegal transportation of liquor to Bihar do not take place after April 1, 2016, he said.
Special care would also be taken on porous Bihar-Nepal border to check illegal trade of alcohol.
Kumar asked state police chief P K Thakur, who was present at the programme, to ensure that police extend all assistance in enforcing the ban on liquor.
“Its known that no illegal trade of manufacturing hooch can take place without the knowledge of the police station. Hence, police have a special role to put an end to this surreptitious trade,” he added.
Kumar said in place of manufacturing spirit from molasses, the government would encourage making of ethanol, which could be used as bio-fuel.
The state government has also held talks with oil companies in this regard, the Chief Minister said.
Kumar said a loss of around Rs 5,000 crore annual revenue because of prohibition on liquor would be mobilised from other sources.
Besides, those rendered jobless on this account would be asked to sale milk and other dairy products from the same shop which sells liquor now, he said.
Kumar said de-addiction centre would be established in all the districts to help those consuming liquor to give up the habit.
“I am a teetotaller and do not know anything about liquor. But when people, particularly women, urged me to stop the sale of alcohol, I agreed to it,” he said.