THE OPPOSITION Congress in Bihar has demanded repeal of the liquor prohibition law in the state, claiming that it was hurting the state exchequer while the liquor mafia were making money.
Congress Legislature Party leader and Bhagalpur MLA Ajit Sharma has written to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying the prohibition law has failed and liquour is now being home delivered in the state at rates two or three times than what it was before the law came into force in 2016. “We suspect a nexus of liquor mafia, police and some politicians in home delivery of liquor,” he wrote.
Pointing out the revenue loss for the fund-starved state, he wrote, “There has been loss of Rs 4,000 crore-Rs 5,000 crore to the state exchequer because of the prohibition. Liquor mafia would be earning twice the amount.”
“It would be only be proper to withdraw the prohibition and use the excise revenue to set up new industries and create more job opportunities,” Sharma wrote, demanding the repeal of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016. “The Congress had supported prohibition with other parties but the law proved an utter failure.”
Ruling JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar, however, told The Indian Express: “The CLP leader should first know that his party had talked about review of the law in its manifesto, not repeal. Second, does Sharma know that staying away from drinking is a pre-condition for primary membership of Congress. Third, we do not appreciate idea of employment generation from liquor sale.”
Meanwhile, NDA alliance partner HAM (S) has demanded bail of those in jail for minor violation of the liquor law.
Party chief Jitan Ram Manjhi demanded that the state government should ensure bail for those who have been in jail for more than three months. “While I congratulate the chief minister for strict implementation of liquor law, those languishing in jail for more than three months because of minor violation of the liquor law should be granted bail. Most of the jailed persons are sole bread earners of the family,” tweeted the former chief minister.
While principal Opposition party RJD has been also critical of the liquor law, it has not yet demanded repeal of the liquor law. An RJD leader said: “We also hold that liquor law has been serving little purpose. Liquor mafia has flourished in the state.”