Ahead of the proposed ban on countrymade liquor from April 1, the Bihar government has found a novel way to create awareness about alcohol abstinence. The state Education department has decided to seek declarations from the fathers of the 73,000 students of primary and secondary schools in the state in which they would promise not to drink alcohol.
“Since a commitment is made to a son or a daughter, this declaration (by the fathers) could be very effective in enforcing the liquor ban in the state,” said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday.
He also said that Bihar will not replicate liquor ban model of other states as there are hardly any successful ones.
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Asked if the Gujarat model of liquor ban could be emulated in Bihar, the Chief Minister told reporters: “Everyone knows there is home delivery system there. In Gujarat, traders are opposing any attempt to lift liquor ban as the current home delivery system suits them.”
The liquor sale in Madhya Pradesh is so high that people have started calling it “Madya (liquor) Pradesh”, he added.
The Chief Minister said that his government would face a big challenge in enforcing liquor ban, and its task is cut out. “We cannot claim success from day one. There will be many hurdles,” Nitish said.
Asked about criticism from several quarters about his plan, Nitish said: “Let people criticise us, but they cannot know from Patna what kind of social churning this upcoming liquor ban has already started in rural parts of Bihar. This will prove a big tool for women’s empowerment. We are engaging students because it would psychologically put pressure on the parents once they would give in writing to their children that they would not drink.”
On including private schools in seeking such declarations from parents, the Chief Minister said: “There is not going to be any order regarding it, but if they do so voluntarily, they are welcome to do so.”
Bihar Education Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary said that there would be no time limit to submit the declaration. “It would be an ongoing process. The idea is to spread awareness in the rural areas,” he said.
The state government is imposing the first phase of liquor ban from April 1, while ban on Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) is likely to be implemented from September.
“The first phase would provide ambience and ground for the IMFL ban. Traders from neighbouring states like Jharkhand are thinking that they would earn more from liquor sale after ban is enforced in Bihar. But we are working on a method of policing to stop pilferage of liquor from Jharkhand and other neighbouring states,” the Chief Minister said.