The Bihar Post

Death penalty if found guilty of selling spurious liquor


Toughening up further its stand towards liquor ban, the ruling Nitish Kumar government in Bihar is now planning to bring out a strong legislation which will have a provision for death. Under the new legislation, the people found guilty of selling spurious liquor which ultimately leads to deaths could be awarded death. Consumption of spurious liquor has been causing many deaths in the state every year.

“We will very soon be bringing out a tough legislation which will have the provision for death. Now, if someone dies of consuming spurious liquor, then the persons found guilty of selling them could be given deaths,” a government official told the media today. Those with lesser chargers could be given jail terms— from seven year imprisonment to life term, he added.

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The new law will also have tough punishment for those caught drinking in public places or involved in illegal hoarding of liquor.

On Thursday, the government had decided to give only one bottle of foreign liquor to a person in a day from the next financial year beginning April 1.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the officials and the minister concerned held here on Thursday under the chairmanship of the chief minister. “The meeting decided to provide only one bottle of liquor to a person from the government shops in a day. To have another bottle, he/she will have to wait for another day,” minister for excise and prohibition Abdul Jalil Mastan told the media on Thursday.

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He said the government was making all steps to stop smuggling of wine in the state. “The government will be installing CCTV cameras on all such shops to ensure none could violate the rule and manage to purchase more than one bottle in a day,” the minister added.

The government, it is worth mentioning here, has decided to implement a total ban on sale and consumption of country-made liquor in the state from the next financial year under part of its new excise policy. Keeping in view its plan, it has resolved to destroy all stocks of alcohol by the March end.  The move is part of the government’s strategy aimed at firmly checking cases of domestic violence across the state.

“As per the Cabinet decision, the government will fully destroy the unsold stocks of country-made liquor. In case of unsold stocks of Indian-made foreign liquor, the government has asked the Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited (BSBCL) to buy it back. From April this year, the BSBCL will be managing the retail sale of foreign liquor through its own outlets,” Bihar cabinet secretary Brajesh Mehrotra has gone on record.

The state cabinet already decided to ask the sugar mills and distilleries to discontinue production of spirit from molasses and switch to production of ethanol from the new financial year in a subsequent step towards enforcing total prohibition in the state—a demand being constantly made by the women folks.

For the past several years, the women had been angrily protesting on the streets seeking a total ban on sale of liquor in the state citing rising case of domestic violence. They were telling the government as to how their tipsy husbands had been spending the hard-earned money on buying liquor and then beating them up under its influence. Angry women had even formed their own organizations, raiding the liquor brewing centres and then destroying them, blaming these outlets for all ills in the society.

However, the move of the government has now gone down well within all sections of the society. Last month, a youth hurled a shoe at the chief minister while he was addressing a function at Bakhtiyarpur town in Patna district, apparently annoyed at his anti-liquor policy. Although the shoe fell little short of the dais, it indeed caught the attention of the chief minister who vowed not to alter his decision come what may.

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