PATNA(PTI): Bihar was declared a dry state on Tuesday with the Nitish Kumar government imposing a total ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol including India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) with immediate effect.
The decision, announced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after a Cabinet meeting, which comes into effect from Tuesday makes it clear that no alcohol can be legally consumed in all of Bihar, including bars and restaurants.
The Bihar government had banned sale and consumption of country and spiced liquor in rural areas from April 1 this year, but had allowed sale of IMFL in towns and cities.
“But, 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 against alcohol has been created in the state and that’s why we decided to go for a total ban on liquor after four days only,” Kumar told reporters.
Army cantonment areas not included in this ban
No license would be granted for sale and consumption of alcohol in places like hotels, clubs and bars in towns and cities too with immediate effect, he said. He, however, said Army cantonment areas would be out of it as they regulate sale and consumption of alcohol in their own way.
On ‘toddy’, Kumar said the state cabinet decided to strictly impose the 1991 guidelines which prohibits sale of toddy within 50 metre of places like hospital, education institutions, religious places among others in towns and 100 metres radius in rural areas. The 1991 guidelines also prohibits opening of toddy shops at bazar haat, entrance point of such haat and densely populated areas in villages.
Companies can manufacture but not trade within Bihar: Nitish Kumar
Asked about fate of liquor manufacturing companies and factories existing in the state after total ban order today, the CM said they could continue manufacture but cannot trade in it within the state.
In urban areas, it disallows opening of toddy shops near factory, petrol pump, railway station, railway yard, bus station and national and state highways.
“Besides, they have to abide by rules like having digital lock system and GPS monitoring equipment in vehicles transporting the liquor manufactured in outlets in Bihar to places outside the state for sale,” Kumar said.
Responding to a question on what would be done with nearly 36,000 litres of foreign liquor lying with Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited (BSBCL) which they had to supply to limited outlets in towns and cities under its strict supervision, Kumar said the Excise department would prepare an action plan for disposal of residual IMFL.
“It (residual IMFL) should be destroyed as it is not a good thing to keep in archive,” Kumar said speaking his mind on the stock of foreign brands lying with the individuals for personal consumption.
Welcoming the decision, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said the state government finally yielded to Opposition pressure for complete prohibition.