No country liquor from April in Bihar, IMFL to be sold from government shops

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had on November 26 announced that the state would go dry from April 1.

No country liquor from April in Bihar, IMFL to be sold from government shops

Patna: The Nitish Kumar government on unveiled its strategy to enforce prohibition of alcohol in

Bihar in phases as part of which there would be total ban on country liquor from April 1 next year.

However, Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) would be available at limited government outlets.

Initially there would be total ban on sale of country liquor from new financial year starting from April 1, 2016, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said after a special cabinet meeting this evening.

From that date onwards, limited shops run by government body Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited (BSBCL) will sell IMFL in municipal and town council areas.

Kumar said BSBCL, which runs under aegis of state Excise department, would take up the responsibility of retail sale of IMFL and would run outlets under strict guideline.

"Earlier BSBCL was involved only in wholesale trade of IMFL but from now it would take up direct responsibility of retail also," Kumar said.

He said after BSBCL takes up the job of IMFL sale, almost 90 percent of present liquor outlets would be shut down thus minimizing the ill effect of alcohol consumption in the state.

The Chief Minister, who had called the special cabinet meeting to approve the new Excise Policy, said his government decided to go phase-wise in enforcing prohibition in Bihar to make it "more effective."

However, he did not say anything on when the IMFL would also come under prohibition.

Reiterating his pre-poll commitment to women that if he returned to power his future government would ban alcohol, Kumar said he was not bothered about revenue loss on account of prohibition.

"The state is drawing around Rs 5000 crore from sale of liquor at present. I do not bother about losing revenue for a great social cause (banning liquor to save poor families getting ruined on this count)," he said.

Excise Minister Abdul Jalil Mastan accompanied Kumar in the press conference.

The Bihar CM stressed on social movement against alcohol consumption to make the Prohibition more effective.

He exhorted women self help groups to demolish "Bhattis" (makeshift manufacturing place of hooch) and inform police immediately.

"I am going to lay a guideline for response time for police action on such complaints from women against any such illegal hooch manufacturing," Kumar said.

"The police response time on such complaints should not be more than the time needed to travel from police station to the site," he said.

A committee under Chief Secretary would monitor everything relating to enforcement of liquor ban.

The Bihar CM said direct responsibility would be fixed on District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police for illegal sale and manufacturing of liquor once the enforcement comes into action.

Kumar said he has asked the Health department to set up de-addiction centre in every district to help habitual drinkers give up the bad habit.

"We need to tread step-by-step and that is why prohibition has been decided in phases," the CM said.

The Bihar CM said from April 1, 2016 foreign liquor would be available only from BSBCL outlets that would function under strict government guidelines.

CCTV cameras would be installed at BSBCL outlets to find out if any one is consuming liquor outside the shop, as is the practice by some people, he added.

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