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  India   All India  24 Jul 2018  Bihar waters down liquor ban law

Bihar waters down liquor ban law

THE ASIAN AGE. | NAYEAR AZAD
Published : Jul 24, 2018, 4:56 am IST
Updated : Jul 24, 2018, 4:56 am IST

Officials say that under the new law, first time offenders can go home after paying a penalty of Rs 50,000.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Photo: PTI)
 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Photo: PTI)

Patna: Two years after Nitish Kumar government in Bihar imposed a total ban on liquor, the state legislature on Monday unanimously passed the amendments to the liquor prohibition bill, diluting some of its stricter provisions.

Officials say that under the new law, first time offenders can go home after paying a penalty of Rs 50,000. The law also provides relief to family members of a person caught consuming or possessing liquor inside the premises of his house.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said, “We have decided to amend the prohibition law on the basis of public feedback. The focus of the state government is to implement the liquor prohibition law in Bihar forcefully. We don’t want people who are innocent to land in jail for offences they didn’t commit.”

According to Mr Kumar, a total of 6,932 persons are currently in jail for violating liquor prohibition.

Sources say that Mr Kumar, who has been facing stiff criticism from various quarters, including the Opposition, took the decision after examining the socio-political ramifications of the prohibition law.

The act was earlier termed as draconian by the BJP which was in the Opposition in 2016 when the state government had imposed liquor prohibition in Bihar.

Political analysts are of the opinion that the decision to bring changes within two years of the imposition of liquor prohibition has been taken keeping 2019 general elections in mind. There has been simmering discontent among a section that sees the existing prohibition act as a tool to harass poor people.

Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav have been targeting the state government machinery on the issue. Opposition parties have also been blaming Nitish government for several deaths that have occurred in the state due to consumption of spurious country-made liquor.

Tags: nitish kumar government, tejashwi yadav, liquor ban law