Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday launched a liquor ban drive in Jharkhand urging the state’s chief minister Raghubar Das to impose a complete prohibition on manufacture, sale and consumption of liquor in the state.
“I appeal to Mr Das to impose a ban on liquor in Jharkhand on the lines of Bihar,” Kumar said while addressing an event in Dhanbad.
Kumar was in Jharkhand to address women activists associated with Nari Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) at the Town Hall. He was accompanied by former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi.
The women activists have been campaigning for complete prohibition on liquor in the state much before Bihar imposed a ban.
The JDU-RJD ruled Bihar had imposed a complete ban on liquor on April 1 and claimed that the prohibition had curbed the crime rate there.
In May, Kumar asked Das to impose a Bihar-like liquor ban in Jharkhand but the suggestion did not go down well with Das who advised Kumar not to interfere with governance in Jharkhand.
“We know what is good for our state. We need not learn it from people who indulged citizens into alcoholism once,” Das had said. Das had pointed out that if at all the state planned to ban liquor, it would prefer to adopt the Gujarat model over Bihar.
Nitish — who is eying complete prohibition of liquor across the country — said he was following Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals. “Bihar is paying a tribute to Mahatma on the centenary of the Champaran movement by banning liquor,” said Kumar.
Kumar alleged that ever since liquor was banned in Bihar, Jharkhand government increased the Minimum Guarantee Quota (MQL) for liquor for all the districts that share borders with Bihar. “The rise is phenomenal and in some cases, it is over 48% from the earlier existing quota,” he said. Jharkhand’s urban development minister CP Singh, however, rubbished the allegations.
He said, “As per the rules, there are no liquor shops within the periphery of 3.2 km from the border. We are committed to checking illegal liquor sale. We conducted 221 raids in bordering areas last month and registered 18 FIRs against liquor smuggling. Nitish ought not to advise the Jharkhand government over policy matters.”
JVM-P chief Babulal Marandi also mocked Raghubar Das government while addressing the NSM activists and extended support to anti-liquor activists of Jharkhand.