The Nalanda district administration in Bihar has started the process of imposing collective fine on a village after repeated seizures of liquor from there, the last being four days ago.
The administration has also served notices for confiscation of property to three big hotels of Nalanda – Hotel Madhuman in Biharsharief, Basant Hotel in Ekangarsarai and Midway Hotel in Rajgir – after seizure of liquor bottles from there.
“The notices have been served to about 50 families in village Kailashpur in Islampur block and the matter is under process. We carried out raids in the village thrice and every time, liquor was seized from there. The village was earlier known for making liquor,” Nalanda DM Thyagrajan SM told HT.
Thyagrajan said that the hotels had also been served notice following seizure of bottles from there in a dry state. “After we receive their replies, confiscation of the property will get underway,” he added, citing provisions of the excise law.
According to Bihar’s excise law, “any premises or part thereof that may have been used for storing or manufacturing any liquor or intoxicant or for committing any other offence under this act” is liable for confiscation.
Sources said over half a dozen more villages across Bihar face the prospect of collective fines for flouting the prohibition norms. The villages include two in Patna, two in Bhagalpur, one each in Munger and Siwan and a couple of others.
Dadhi Tola, a hamlet in Sheikhpura district, has also been issued notice. “If there is any recurrence, the entire village will have to pay for it. I have directed the police and excise superintendents to keep special vigil on the village,” said Sheikhpura DM Sunil Kumar.
The villagers have been brewing of country liquor despite raids in the last 20-25 days by excise and police officials and dismantling of illicit liquor manufacturing units.
As per the new excise bill which is yet to get gubernatorial assent, if a collector is satisfied, whether on a report of any excise officer or police officer or otherwise, that a particular village or town or any locality within a village or town or any particular group/community living in that village or town have been repeatedly violating any of the provisions or are habitual offenders or are obstructing the administration of this Act, then he/she may, by an order, impose a suitable collective fine. The existing law also has similar provisions.
The Bihar government imposed total prohibition in the state on April 5 but there has been no community fines so far despite huge seizures.
Principal secretary, department of excise and prohibition, KK Pathak said that proceedings were on in areas where offences have taken place repeatedly.
“The idea is to create an effective deterrent for habitual offenders, not just to collect fine. It is up to the collectors to decide how they would like to go about it. In some cases, show cause notices have been served,” he told HT.