Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that he has called a high-level meeting on November 16 to “review the effectiveness of the liquor ban” in the state. This will be the second review meeting called by the CM after at least 31 people died due to the consumption of spurious liquor in dry Bihar within a span of three days.
The deaths have been reported from Gopalganj, West Champaran and Samastipur districts.
“I have asked the chief secretary and the DGP to keep a tab on every aspect related to the violation of liquor prohibition. They have been asked to assess the loopholes and find out how the violators are slipping away from the administration”, Mr Nitish Kumar said on the sidelines of his janata darbar.
He had earlier said that “situations like this occur if people consume wrong things”. On Monday, he reiterated his earlier statement and said “those who are speaking against the prohibition must remember that the act was passed unanimously by the legislature”.
He also stressed the need to spread awareness about the prohibition law and the consequences of liquor consumption. Mr Nitish Kumar said the prohibition law was implemented in Bihar on the demand of women.
Liquor prohibition was the first major announcement by Mr Kumar after he was sworn in as chief minister for the fifth time after his emphatic victory in 2015. The ban was imposed on April 5, 2016, but the stringent excise law was brought into force in October 2016. Consumption, dealing and conniving to sell liquor were made a criminal offence under Bihar’s prohibition law.
Mr Kumar faced sharp criticism from the Opposition parties after the death toll jumped recently. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, in a series of statements, declared the liquor prohibition policy “a complete failure”.
The twist in the controversy came after the BJP, an ally of Mr Kumar’s Janata Dal (UUnited), recently called for a review of the prohibition policy. “Liquor prohibition was implemented six years ago with good intentions but I think that there is a need to review the act”, BJP state president and Lok Sabha MP Sanjay Jaiswal said....