Bihar govt makes a U-turn on booze ban, may start retail of IMFL

Updated on Dec 18, 2015 09:05 AM IST
In what appears to be the first sign of a volte-face, the Bihar government is mulling to start the retail of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) within all municipal and nagar parishad limits through the Bihar State Beverage Corporation Limited (BSBCL), instead of going for complete prohibition as it had earlier proposed.
The Bihar government is apparently considering a u-turn over their proposed state-wide alcohol ban.(HT Photo)
The Bihar government is apparently considering a u-turn over their proposed state-wide alcohol ban.(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times | By, Patna

In what appears to be the first sign of a volte-face, the Bihar government is mulling to start the retail of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) within all municipal and nagar parishad limits through the Bihar State Beverage Corporation Limited (BSBCL), instead of going for complete prohibition as it had earlier proposed.

However, the state will not allow the sale of any form of liquor in village panchayats, where women had raised their voice against the same.

On November 26, chief minister Nitish Kumar had announced that the state will go dry from April 1, 2016. On Thursday, Nitish reiterated his resolve for full prohibition, while addressing a review meeting of rural development department, also acknowledging the role of women members of self-help groups in seeking such a measure.

The decision to ban the sale of liquor was widely appreciated, with several states pressing their leadership to follow Bihar’s suit.

However, sources in the excise department, wishing not to be quoted, said that the sale of country-made liquor would be banned.

The state government, through a series of advertisements published in local dailies on Thursday, also made its intention clear, inviting tenders for shops, godowns with ATMs and CCTVs for retail shops within municipal limits.

Tenders have also been floated to invite companies to provide private security guards at shops and godowns as well as to outsource employees at these shops.

The advertisements in newspapers come close on the heels of a meeting with a delegation of IMFL sellers with RJD chief Lalu Prasad at his residence on Wednesday.

So far, BSBCL has been solely responsible for the wholesale trade of IMFL and earns a maximum of 2% profit on the maximum sale price. The retailers earn a profit of 15% on MRP. The state earns revenue of around Rs 4,000 crore annually from liquor sale from nearly 9,000 shops.

Sources in the excise department said that the step to sell liquor within municipal limits and nagar parishads is being taken to bridge the deficit likely to accrue out of ban of country liquor in villages.

The state had earlier tried its hand at prohibition in 1977-78, but failed to implement it effectively. In 2007, the Kumar government changed its liquor policy to shore up internal revenue in the fund-starved state. It paid dividends and revenue collection from over 9,000 outlets and vends registered a more than 10-fold jump — from a paltry Rs 319 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 3,650 crore in 2014-15.

The main opposition party in state assembly, BJP, which had announced to support the government’s move, questioned the government’s intention on the issue.

“A series of self-contradictory statements is coming up on the prohibition issue — talks of complete ban, Lalu Prasad meeting liquor sellers’ delegation, BSBCL looking for godowns and retail sale. Different postures put a question mark on the government’s commitment,” tweeted senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who, as finance minister of Bihar, had pioneered the expansion of liquor sales through licensed vends by organising the trade.

JD (U) leader and a former minister Shyam Rajak, however, defended the government. “There is no difference in acts and commitment of chief minister Nitish Kumar,” he said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vijay is chief of bureau, Patna. He has spent 21 years in journalism and covers political beats and public affairs.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Electric buses in Bengaluru. 

    New electric buses on Bengaluru roads. Here are some interesting things to know

    The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation has introduced 300 electric buses, which have been dedicated to the "citizens of the city" by the state government. Five bus routes have been identified to run these newly introduced electric buses. These electric buses will run between Kempegowda Bus Station to Vidyaranyapura, Shivajinagar to Yelahanka, Yelahanka to Kengeri, Kempegowda Bus Station to Yelahanka Satellite town and Hebbal to Central Silk Board.

  • The Capital has over 18,000 parks and gardens, but most of them are concentrated in just five districts, shows a study by Centre for Youth Culture Law and Environment (CYCLE). (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

    Uneven spread of parks in Delhi: 2.3K in South Delhi, 142 in north-east

    The Capital has over 18,000 parks and gardens, but most of them are concentrated in just five districts, a new analysis has found, with the fewest such spaces in the congested north-east Delhi region, throwing up concerns over the inequitable spread of green patches in the rapidly expanding margins of the city. West Delhi is second, with such spots spread over 6.6% of the district and East Delhi third with 6.3%.

  • On August 1, the nine-year-old girl was allegedly raped and killed by a priest and three others at the crematorium located in the Purani Nangal village, near Delhi Cantonment. (HT Photo)

    Waiting for justice to immerse her clothes: Mother of Dalit girl raped in Delhi

    A year has passed since the day a 9-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered inside a crematorium in west Delhi's Delhi Cantonment area. The girl's mother has still kept her clothes. She says that she will immerse them in the Ganga, but only after the court decides on the fate of four men who raped and murdered her daughter. The four accused are lodged in Tihar Jail.

  • People gather near the banks of the Yamuna river where a boat capsized in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda on August 11. (PTI Photo)

    Banda boat tragedy: Death toll rises to 12; three still missing

    The death toll in the Banda boat tragedy rose to 12 on Sunday after one more body was recovered three days after the fateful mishap in the Yamuna river on August 11. Three more bodies are still missing and search operations were going on, Banda superintendent of police Abhinandan said. “Three bodies are missing. The search operation by the NDRF, SDRF and PAC divers are underway,” he said.

  • Vinayak Mete. (Facebook Photo)

    Maharashtra: Maratha reservation activist and MLC Vinayak Mete dies in accident

    Vinayak Mete, Maharashtra legislative council member and leader of pro-Maratha outfit Shiv Sangram, died early on Sunday morning when the SUV he was travelling in met with an accident near Bhatan tunnel in Raigad district on the Pune-Mumbai expressway. While the driver escaped unhurt, he alleged that the highway control room did not respond. Expressway police officials claimed that Mete's driver was trying to overtake another vehicle when the accident took place.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now