Bihar Duplicate Liquor News What’s the problem with the liquor ban? How is the fake liquor business flourishing?


Summary

Even after almost five years of prohibition in Bihar, the easy availability of alcohol is not the only problem facing the state government. Rather, despite the liquor ban, deaths from poisonous liquor have also remained a major challenge for the Bihar government.

Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar
– Photo: ANI

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In recent days, the death toll from drinking spurious liquor in Bihar has risen to 33. When there was much uproar on this issue, Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called a high-level meeting and reviewed the matter. Nitish Kumar ordered officials to crack down on recent spurious liquor incidents. But the question is that when the liquor ban is in effect in Bihar, why has this process of drinking and drinking not stopped?

Is the liquor ban exposed under the Nitish Kumar government? Opposition leaders and social organizations believe that contrary to the government’s claims, the fundamental reality of the ban is different. In February this year, Government Minister Mukesh Sahni raised questions about this law, saying that despite the annual loss of 7 thousand crore rupees in Bihar, the prohibition law is not being strictly enforced.

However, social commentators take a different view of this and believe that nowhere in the world have such strict prohibition laws been achieved. The habit of drinking alcohol can only be stopped, but cannot be stopped by law. The Bihar government is not taking this problem as a social problem, so people are forced to drink spurious and spurious liquor.

Since when is the ban in force?
During the 2015 assembly elections in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had promised women that a ban on alcoholic beverages would be implemented in the state. One of his goals was to prevent domestic violence, which has often been associated with drinking. After winning the elections and becoming the prime minister for the third time in a row, Kumar kept the promise made to women and on April 1, 2016, a ban on alcoholic beverages was implemented in Bihar under the Prohibition Act and Bihar Excise Tax.

Violation of the law is punishable by a fine of at least Rs 50,000 for up to 10 years. Bihar reportedly earned Rs 4 billion each year from the collection of taxes on the sale of liquor. The state government had estimated this loss of revenue. The state government, in enacting the law, had said it would better manage finances and resources to compensate for it.
counterfeit liquor business
In May 2016, a month after the law came into effect, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that crime has decreased due to the ban. But on the other hand, accusations began to surface that under the noses of the police and the administration, the spurious liquor business was happening in the state. As of October 31, 2021, 90 people, mostly from the lower strata of society, were killed by the consumption of spurious and spurious liquor contraband. This Diwali turned black for more than two dozen families in Gopalganj and West Champaran districts due to spurious liquor.

According to media reports, according to data from the State Tax Department, before the liquor ban, about 25 million liters of liquor were consumed each month in Bihar. Experts say that after the liquor ban, the illicit liquor business began in full swing in the state. At the time of the elections, this business becomes more vigorous.

A professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences said that the problem with the prohibition law in Bihar is that alcohol is being seen as a matter of public order and not as a social problem. While the government should have focused on conducting more public awareness campaigns, consulting relevant stakeholders, establishing addiction elimination centers, etc. The responsibility of the state government is not limited to banning liquor, but must think of different sectors of society.

New smuggling methods

Today the illegal liquor trade is believed to have become the state’s most profitable business. According to media reports, smuggled liquor in Bihar is captured almost daily. In 2020, at least three liters of liquor per minute were seized in Bihar and an arrest was carried out within 10 minutes. Criminals have adopted new ways of smuggling liquor bottles.

They use code words like chawni for a quarter and eight for a half bottle. Smugglers are using illicit liquor inside gas cylinders, from fruit and grain baskets to ambulance and train pantry cars. Several railroad employees working on pantry cars have been arrested for their involvement in illegal trade.

Not only this, the spirits of the liquor mafia are so many that they do not hesitate to shoot, attack and kill the police. Earlier this year, a police officer was shot dead by a liquor mafia in Sitamarhi. At the same time, there are reports that the liquor mafia is attacking the police from somewhere.

When did the first major incident occur?

In August, 19 people died after consuming counterfeit liquor in Khajurbani village of Gopalganj district after the prohibition law came into force on April 1, 2016. This was the first major incident after the entry into force of the law. Officials arrived in Gopalganj and the local administration began to take action against those involved in the illegal liquor business. Five years after the incident, in March 2021, 13 defendants were convicted in the case, nine sentenced to death and four to life imprisonment. However, experts say that the spurious liquor business is happening in Bihar and people are dying from drinking it too.

Since Bihar became a “dry state”, 125 people have died, of which more than 90 have been reported as of October 31 this year. Despite the lockdown due to the corona pandemic this year and last year, the supply of illicit liquor in the state has claimed many lives. Police records show 64 people died and many lost their sight after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in Nawada, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Rohtas districts from January to August 26 this year.

The districts that have reported maximum deaths due to spurious liquor are Gopalganj, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Siwan, Vaishali, Kaimur, Begusarai and Rohtas. Most of these districts share borders with Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Nepal, where the illicit liquor trade is flourishing.

A social worker from Gopalganj said that in most cases the government refuses to accept spurious liquor as a cause of death, while the relatives of the deceased also change their statement due to pressure and compensation benefits. But everyone knows the reality of the area.

Although the police administration claims that thousands of liters of liquor have been confiscated after the implementation of the prohibition law, only a few were convicted under the new prohibition law. This is why there have been reports of links between the police, excise officials, local criminals, and politicians. Several policemen were also suspended as some of them were accused of selling confiscated liquor bottles.

In November 2019, the Patna High Court said that more than two lakh of cases related to the violation of the prohibition law were pending in the Bihar courts, adding additional pressure on the judiciary. According to official figures, about 25% of the total pending cases in the lower courts and 20% in the higher courts are related to the ban.

RJD charge

The leader of the main opposition, Rashtriya Janata Dal Tejashwi Yadav, accused the Chief Minister of being condescending to the police officers and ministers who participated in the distribution of illicit liquor during the by-elections held on October 30. Yadav tweeted: “The ministers and police themselves distributed liquor during the by-elections under the patronage of Nitish Kumar. Where is the prisoner? Who is responsible for such deaths? The smuggling of illegal liquor worth Rs 20 billion in Bihar and the lord of the parallel underground economy should come forward and respond.

In another tweet, Tejashwi Yadav shared a video clip of the Chief Minister and said: “In the past three days under Nitish Kumar, there have been more than 50 deaths due to spurious liquor. Instead of taking action against the Chief Minister himself, the administration , the mafia and the smugglers, the police continue to threaten to teach drinkers a harsh lesson.

RJD Senior Leader Shivanand Tiwari said in a statement: “Deaths due to the consumption of spurious liquor have now turned into a small-scale epidemic. People are dying and the local administration is pressuring the families of the victims to perform the last rites without autopsy so that no one knows the exact number of victims. No one knows how many more people will die due to Nitish Kumar’s stubbornness.

Expansion

In recent days, the death toll from drinking spurious liquor in Bihar has risen to 33. When there was much uproar on this issue, Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called a high-level meeting and reviewed the matter. Nitish Kumar ordered officials to crack down on recent spurious liquor incidents. But the question is that when the liquor ban is in effect in Bihar, why has this process of drinking and drinking not stopped?

Is the liquor ban exposed under the Nitish Kumar government? Opposition leaders and social organizations believe that contrary to the government’s claims, the fundamental reality of the ban is different. In February this year, Government Minister Mukesh Sahni raised questions about this law, saying that despite the annual loss of 7 thousand crore rupees in Bihar, the prohibition law is not being strictly enforced.

However, social commentators take a different view of this and believe that nowhere in the world have such strict prohibition laws been achieved. The habit of drinking alcohol can only be stopped, but cannot be stopped by law. The Bihar government is not taking this problem as a social problem, so people are forced to drink spurious and spurious liquor.

Since when is the ban in force?

During the 2015 assembly elections in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had promised women that a ban on alcoholic beverages would be implemented in the state. One of his goals was to prevent domestic violence, which has often been associated with drinking. After winning the elections and becoming the prime minister for the third time in a row, Kumar kept the promise made to women and on April 1, 2016, a ban on alcoholic beverages was implemented in Bihar under the Prohibition Act and Bihar Excise Tax.

Violation of the law is punishable by a fine of at least Rs 50,000 for up to 10 years. Bihar reportedly earned Rs 4 billion each year from the collection of taxes on the sale of liquor. The state government had estimated this loss of revenue. The state government, in enacting the law, had said it would better manage finances and resources to compensate for it.


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