PATNA: Welcoming the Manipur government’s move to lift the ban on liquor, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), the apex body of Indian alcoholic beverages industry, on Wednesday urged Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government to end prohibition in state to boost its economy, end unlawful trade of poor quality alcohol in state, and avert frequent incidents of hooch tragedies.
“By ending over three-decade long prohibition, the Manipur government has taken a positive step forward which would not only earn Rs 600-700 crore as annual tax revenues, but also help tackle the menace of sale of illegal liquor and spread of drugs. It is going to give a major fillip to the state’s economic growth.” said CIABC Director General Vinod Giri.
The Manipur cabinet on Monday lifted a complete ban on liquor.
The CIABC said that the Bihar Government should also follow suit and lift prohibition which led to so many deaths due to hooch tragedies.
“Bihar is paying a heavy price for the prohibition policy in the form of proliferation of unlawful and spurious liquor, hooch tragedies and loss of legitimate Government revenues. Bihar is losing revenue from the legitimate liquor trade which is estimated at around Rs 10,000 crore per annum. Repeated hooch tragedies have so far seen hundreds of deaths since 2016, close to 5 lakh cases are pending in courts clogging justice delivery system, and around 3 lakh people have been put behind bars for something which the rest of the country finds perfectly lawful. Liquor mafia has been thriving in the state. Keeping all these aspects in mind, we urge the Bihar government to end prohibition and open up liquor trade in the state,” said Giri.
“We have even suggested that liquor factories in Bihar would keep 50% of their workforce as women leading to true economic empowerment of women. We have also proposed a special cess on sale of liquor to fund alcohol de-addiction and rehabilitation centres,” Giri added.
Stating that the proposed door-to-door survey to study prohibition would serve no purpose, the CIABC director general noted that the National Family Health Survey 2019-20 report had clearly stated that Bihar consumes more liquor than Maharashtra, which proves that prohibition has not worked. Report also suggests that 90% of illegal sale of liquor is among poor and backward people.
Bihar has had a complete ban on manufacturing, sale and consumption of liquor since April 2016.