A Jharkhand minister demanded a ban on sale and consumption of liquor in the state, praising chief minister Nitish Kumar for prohibiting alcohol in Bihar.
Bihar clamped down on India-made foreign liquor on April 5, four days after it banned sale and consumption of country and spiced liquor.
“Liquor has become a part of daily life in parts of the state due to ignorance and lack of awareness. The habit is affecting people socially and economically,” said Chandra Prakash Choudhary, Jharkhand minister of water resources, drinking water and sanitation.
In a letter sent to chief minister Raghubar Das on Sunday, the minister said, “Jharkhand loses hundreds of lives every year in road accidents due to drink-driving.” Liquor consumption causes incurable diseases like cancer, he said.
Former chief ministers Sibu Soren, Hemant Soren and Babulal Marandi also pitched for a ban on liquor.
Citing prohibition in Gujarat, Choudhary said, “The concept of a clean and healthy Jharkhand could be realised only after total prohibition of liquor in the state.”
Prohibition has been in force in Gujarat since it was formed in 1960.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president, Sibu Soren, said, “Liquor is the greatest impediment to Jharkhand’s development.”
“I have always been a votary of prohibition since the days of agitation for separate Jharkhand,” he said during an interaction at his Khijuria home in Dumka.
When he was the chief minister, Soren mooted an alternative employment for women selling handia, a local brew. “If sale of liquor is not banned, the JMM will launch an agitation,” the Dumka MP said.
Hemant Soren backed the anti-liquor campaign during his visit to Godda on Saturday.
Marandi, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) chief, said, “Nitish Kumar in Bihar has shown the will (to ban liquor) and done that. Chief minister Raghubar Das should also do this in Jharkhand.”