Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday dismissed speculations of the state moving back on the new liquor law and asserted that there is no question of “diluting” after advertisements of excise department appeared seeking public opinion on it. Kumar categorically said there was no question of going back on prohibition or “diluting” the liquor law. “Prohibition has been enforced and will continue with all strength,” he said. His remarks came in the wake of excise department’s advertisment in newspapers seeking opinion of the public, particularly that of critics of the new Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 notified on October 2. Kumar said the government has invited suggestions till November 12 as to how to make the liquor law “non-draconian and non-Talibani”.
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“People will be invited on November 14 for suggestions which I myself will hear,” he said.
Kumar had gone to Delhi yesterday to discuss the appeal filed by Bihar government in Supreme Court against quashing of the Prohibition of Liquor Act by Patna High Court with senior lawyer Gopal Subramaniam. He said he had discussed every aspect of the anti-alcohol law with him.
“Gopal Subramanium has fully supported prohibition and is arguing for the state in Supreme Court at a token fee of Re 1 only. I had talks with him over telephone and I decided to meet him and discuss every aspect of the Excise Act with him,” Kumar told reporters.
Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and Principal Secretary to Home and Excise Department Amir Subhani had accompanied him, the chief minister said.
The Bihar Chief Minister said a study on social and economic dimensions of prohibition is being conducted.
Referring to allegations that he has no other work than prohibition, he said his Grand Secular Alliance government in the state had launched ‘seven resolves’ which started “20-25 new schemes for welfare of people”. Kumar launched a skill development scheme for youths to provide them better prospects in jobs. A total of 74 courses have been decided for sharpening skills of youths and would be implemented by different departments, he added.