Partial Prohibition Goes into Effect, Protests, Jubilation in Patna

Country liquor shops in Patna selling alcohol on the eve of imposition of prohibition in Bihar.

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Patna: In a matter of few hours, partial ban on sale and consumption of alcoholic beverage will go into effect turning Bihar into a dry state like Gujarat though foreign liquors would continue to be sold in government-run shops.

"Following on the cabinet's decision, the Excise and Prohibition department has issued a notification banning complete ban on country-made liquours throughout Bihar. Those defying the prohibition would be punished strictly under the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act of 2016," said a senior state official.

The move to ban alcohol in Bihar is seen largely as a political ploy to gain women's vote in future elections as opposed to a genuine desire to reduce the problem of alcoholism in the state, particularly in the rural areas where each year a large number of people die after consuming illicit and poisonous hooch.

Rashtriya Mahila Brigade activists celebrate imposition of prohibition in Bihar.Rashtriya Mahila Brigade activists celebrate imposition of prohibition in Bihar.Earlier, the state Cabinet unanimously passed an amendment in the bill that provides for death penalty to those who engage in illegal manufacturing of drinks that lead to deaths.

On Wednesday, the members of the Bihar Assembly and Bihar Legislative Council took the pledge not to consume alcoholic beverage ever – a tall promise the success of which remains to be seen.

On Thursday, officials in Patna led by District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal destroyed 13.5 lakh of country liquor to the tune of Rs. 3 crore at a warehouse in Khagaul. Earth-moving machines were brought in to accomplish the task in the presence of several security guards.

With time running out for regular consumers of alcohol, heavy rush was seen at various liquor outlets in Patna where owners, to avoid financial loss, were selling country liqyor bottles at huge discount and by offering deals like buy-one-get-one free bottle of your choice.

Pleased by the imposition of ban on alcoholic beverages, women under the aegis of Rashtriya Mahila Brigade took out a rally in favor of prohibition and smashed liquor bottles at the Kargil Chowk to celebrate the 'death of alcohol' in Bihar.

LJP activists protest over partial prohibition.LJP activists protest over partial prohibition.Meanwhile, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) workers in Patna took out a protest rally against the Nitish government for imposing only partial ban from tomorrow while choosing to continue to sell Indian Made Foreign Liquor to rich and affluent.

Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) President and Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav also held a press conference in Patna on Thursday accusing Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of being in hand in glove with the large brewery houses along with several of the Janata Dal – U and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators being financially benefitting from the liquor mafia in Bihar.

Yadav also offered Rs. 50,000 in reward money to anyone who would carry out sting operations to nail ministers, MPs, and legislators who are found indulging in alcohol consumption.

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