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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Unrelenting Nitish asks police to book patrons of Bihar illegal liquor trade

“There can be no half measure in implementation of total prohibition. Even back room operatives of illicit liquor trade have to be booked,” Kumar said at the Nasha Mukti Diwas function in Patna on Sunday.

patna Updated: Nov 26, 2017 18:37 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (centre) inaugurating the Nasha Mukti Diwas function in Patna on Sunday.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (centre) inaugurating the Nasha Mukti Diwas function in Patna on Sunday. (AP Dube/HT photo)

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, on Sunday, directed the police and excise department officials to initiate a comprehensive crackdown on bootleggers and benefactors of the illegal liquor trade, for taking the enforcement of total prohibition to the next level.

“There can be no half measure in the implementation of total prohibition. Even benami (backroom) operatives of illicit liquor trade have to be brought to book,” Kumar said, while asking director general of police (DGP) PK Thakur to zero in on the ‘powerful’ people involved in fuelling the illegal trade.

Speaking at a function organised to mark Prohibition Day, now rechristened Nasha Mukti Diwas, Kumar said common wisdom had it that the police were in the know of people involved in bootlegging, manufacture of country liquor and, even, the patrons of such trades in a particular area.

“Yet, it cannot be said for sure that 100% action is ensured in all reported matters. The village level ‘chaukidar’, who is also part of the system, will also have to be brought in the loop for stepping up the vigil”, he said, while soliciting greater public participation in weeding out unscrupulous elements.

As for tightening the monitoring mechanism, he said the post of IG (prohibition), under the CID, had been created for this purpose. While big cases were dealt by economic offences unit (EOU), IG (prohibition) could take over a police case for accelerating its progress. Even action, including dismissal, against excise and police officials had been taken, he said.

Countering detractors, who said prohibition would drive away tourists, he said that the number of foreign tourists coming to Bihar had increased. “The question is whether people visiting Bodh Gaya, Gaya and Rajgir come here for drinks or for other specific purposes,” he asked.

The focus on prohibition would not take a backseat, as was being made out by ‘some’, with the inclusion of campaign against evils of child marriage and dowry in the list of public initiatives for societal change, he said.

The CM also asked Bihar livelihood project Jeevika’s members to highlight the recent hooch tragedy for creating an atmosphere against the consumption of illegally brewed country liquor.

Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi was all praise for Kumar for taking the bold step, which he said, would not have been possible 10-15 years down the line. “Fortunately, liquor consumption had not become a part of our culture as in the case of some states. Total prohibition was rolled out just at the right time,” he said.

In fact, it could be termed as a much stronger move than demonetization, which was like a one-off surgical strike on high currency notes. But prohibition was like a 24x7 surgical strike (war) against bootleggers and illegal country liquor manufacturers, Modi said.

“Gujarat is still grappling with attending problems of relaxation (permit).” He added.

Only determined persons like Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar could muster the courage for implementing such strong measures. “Every section of the society is experiencing the positive impact of prohibition. We must keep a watch, whether elite sections are trying to circumvent the law,” he said.

Earlier, excise minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, DGP PK Thakur and principal secretary excise Amir Subhani also spoke on the occasion, while excise commissioner Aditya Kumar Das proposed a vote of thanks.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 18:37 IST

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