Residents of Ballia are unhappy with political parties for not having promised prohibition of liquor in Uttar Pradesh.
The district borders Bihar where chief minister Nitish has enforced a complete ban on liquor, winning praise even on this side of the border.
Manish Kumar Rai, resident of Surahi bordering Bihar’s Buxar, said a ban on liquor should have topped the political list of poll promises.
Over 50 villages in Maniyar, Bairia, Bansdih and Belthara Road could do with a liquor ban since many of the men here splurge their hard-earned money on alcohol.
The villages in question are: Tahirpur, Sultanpur, Devrar, Kharauni, Chandpur, Rajpur and Shivrampur among others.
“Liquor is neither good for health nor for the society. Liquor breaks families and is among the major causes of crime,” Gupta said.
Santosh Mishra, resident of Barria, said, “Liquor ban has given good results in neighbouring Bihar. I think a large number of people gave up drinking because of the ban. Politicians and political outfits need to think in this direction.”
Licensed shops in pockets of border areas of Ballia, Ghazipur and Chandauli are a favourite destination for tipplers from Buxar, Ara, Chhapra and Siwan in Bihar.
“Many habitual drinkers from Buxar and Ara visit licensed liquor shops in Ballia’s border areas like Bharauli to buy country liquor, foreign liquor and beer. Bharauli, about a kilometre from the Buxar border, sees a huge gathering of drunkards every evening,” Mithilesh Rai said.
“Drunkards often fight with one another. They use abusive language and spoil the atmosphere. Uttar Pradesh needs to put a complete ban on liquor in order to save families from its ill effects and to avoid a gathering of tipplers from Bihar here,” Rai said.
“It is a good move that is in the interest of the state and its people. Once announced, tipplers won’t be able to drink away their hard earned money,” he said.
Kamlesh Sharma travelled 60 kilometres from Ara in Bihar to buy country liquor from the licensed shop in Bharauli. Having bought liquor, he and his friend Arun Sharma went behind the shop and drank to their heart’s content.
“I can’t take liquor to my state. I am drinking it here,” he said. Kamlesh backed him.
Bharauli shares its border with Buxar in Bihar. Ballia has around 188 licensed liquor shops, including 136 of country liquor, 30 of foreign liquor and 22 of beer. Of these, 12 are based on border towns such as Bharauli, Laxmanpur and Maniyar. Ghazipur has two licensed shops in border pockets.
Vivek Kumar of the Barria region is also disappointed over no political party promising efforts to ban liquor.
“This is a major issue in many pockets of the district and state as well. Time has come to raise one’s voice to get liquor banned in the state,” Vivek Kumar said.
He recalled the Bihar CM’s comment that he wants a liquor free society across the country.
“Politicians here need to learn from Kumar who ensured a complete ban on liquor soon after winning the assembly elections in Bihar in 2015. Nitish Kumar promised a ban on liquor before assembly elections in the state and also wrote to UP government for liquor ban, at least in border districts.”
Sudhanshu Bhushan Rai, a resident of Bharauli, said, “A ban on liquor is required across the state in order to save families. This is a social issue.”
Ramesh Chaudhary, younger brother of BSP leader Ambika Chaudhary, also accepts that liquor ban is not a poll issue.
District excise officer Bhuaalji Singh said that the shops in border areas were doing well and the district was achieving the monthly sale target easily.