­Nitish Kumar calls high-level meet on Nov 16 over liquor ban in state

Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had earlier said that he will take strict action against those involved in the sale and consumption of liquor in the dry state.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (HT FIle)
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (HT FIle)
Published on Nov 08, 2021 04:04 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has called a high-level meeting to deliberate further on the liquor ban that exists in the state since 2016, news agency ANI reported on Monday.

Kumar had held a review meeting on Saturday, which the Janata Dal (United) chief informed via Twitter. Earlier, he had warned of strict action against those involved in sale and consumption of liquor in the dry state after the celebrations for Chhath Puja are over.

“It is for people to see and judge. If you indulge in such activities, the result is before you. We will take action. Some people are doing bad work by making spurious liquor. Raids are on and I am going to review the entire scenario once the Chhath festival is over,” he had said.

Notably, liquor has been prohibited in Bihar since 2016.

This comes after at least 20 people died over the past few days from consuming spurious liquor. The incident in which an Army man and a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel are also among the victims, has put Kumar under the radar with the opposition claiming that a nexus exists in Bihar wherein state government officials are also involved.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Bihar’s leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav said that the liquor ban is only confined in the words of Kumar. “Instead of taking strict action against the officials, Mafiosi and illegal traders; CM Nitish Kumar keep on cautioning the people from not consuming the liquor,” he alleged, adding that the state police had seized two trucks full of illegal liquor from the school of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister in the cabinet but “no reference” of the person was present in the First Information Report (FIR).

Also Read | Bihar liquor deaths: RJD leader says Nitish Kumar govt involved in 'syndicate’

Meanwhile, Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra pointed out that it was high time the state government re-evaluate the Prohibition Act, and if it is at all effective.

The case gained spotlight after it was reported on November 4 with a total of 10 fatalities in Bihar’s West Champaran and Gopalganj districts. As of now, at least 20 people have died in both the districts and police have said that they are awaiting a post-mortem report to reach any conclusion. “Prima facie, these deaths appear to have occurred due to the consumption of poisonous substances,” West Champaran’s superintendent of police Upendra Nath Verman said.

A station house officer (SHO) Manish Kumar and one chowkidar have been suspended in the matter so far. Also, four persons, including two women have been held and five others have been detained.

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Saturday, January 22, 2022