October 24, 2020

Liquor deaths not dry law fault, says Nitish

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said the death of four persons in Begusarai on Sunday was not a failure of prohibition, and claimed that the entire country was now coming round in favour of a ban on liquor.

“Information about the death of four persons in Begusarai has come. Investigations have revealed that they consumed surgical spirit – the same thing which is rubbed on arm before an injection is administered. Sometime ago people had died in Gopalganj, Rohtas and Vaishali districts after consuming hooch. There are some people in our society who indulge in illicit liquor trade,” Nitish said. “Such incidents are not the failure of prohibition, but a result of the polluted mentality of a few persons. Our officers should publicise such incidents so that people could take lesson and refrain from consuming illicit liquor or other such things.”

Nitish was speaking at a function organised by the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the Bihar police on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Almost the entire top brass of the police was present at the event, held at Adhiveshan Bhavan.

Total prohibition in Bihar was implemented on April 5, 2016 and so far the police and excise officials have arrested 1.41 lakh people and registered 1.17 lakh cases on charges of flouting the liquor ban till May 31, 2018. Over 20 lakh litres of India made foreign liquor (IMFL) and 9 lakh litres of country liquor have been seized during this period.

Asserting that people were now realising the benefits of prohibition, Nitish shared that during the recent meeting of Niti Aayog governing council, several chief ministers were asking him about the liquor ban because people, especially women, in their states were demanding a ban on liquor.

“They (chief ministers) were worried about the loss of revenue if they ban liquor, but I assured them not to worry as it will be compensated by the increase in consumption of other goods. An environment in favour of prohibition is forming in the entire country,” Nitish said.

He enforced prohibition despite the fear of the loss of Rs 5000 crore in revenue, he said, but the step saved Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore which is now being spent on other goods and providing tax revenue to the government.

“There was a loss of just Rs 1,000 crore of revenue during the first year of prohibition in 2016-17. The market is expanding and the revenue loss is now a thing of past. Surveys done by various government and private institutions have also pointed towards this,” Nitish said. “Even a survey conducted by the health department has revealed that depression has reduced in 81 per cent of liquor addicts, while anxiety in 77 per cent people has come down after prohibition. Savings among 83 per cent of such people have increased, while income of 75 per cent of them has gone up. Eighty-six per cent of them have witnessed improvement in health while the same percentage has experienced a growth in their working capacity.”

The CM said that Bihar was now moving towards complete de-addiction.

He also announced the constitution of an anti-narcotics task force that will function under the EOU. The task force will get 12 officers and 24 armed constables to start with.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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