The Bihar government on Thursday approved an amendment to the liquor ban law, easing certain restrictions with an aim to curb misuse. The announcement was made by Cabinet Secretary Arun Kumar Singh.
The amendments will be tabled in the upcoming monsoon session of the assembly in July.
Sources told NDTV that amongst the restrictions being eased, the government will no longer seal a campus/house or vehicle where alcohol bottles are found. Similarly, it will not seal a house if a drunk person is found on the premises.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hinted at the amendment in June, saying that a committee was looking at reducing misuse of the law. The JD(U) leader made it very clear that there would be "no compromise" on the prohibition policy.
As per the CM, the policy has largely benefitted the state, saying: "The ban on sale and consumption of alcohol has brought innumerable benefits. People's quality of life has improved. I feel disgusted when people suggest that we should not have introduced prohibition since liquor brings lots of revenue."
Commenting on the death of four people after consuming surgical spirit, the CM said that it was not the failure of the law, but rather a result of "polluted mentality".
"Our officers should publicise such incidents so that people could take a lesson and refrain from consuming alcohol," he added.
The liquor ban was introduced in Bihar in April 2016, leading to the arrest of more than 1.5 lakh people in the state. Over the years, there have also been several deaths, with people turning to alternative liquor sources, but the government has refused to back down and loosen the liquor ban.
Recently, the government of Uttar Pradesh also banned alcohol in certain areas of Mathura. The Goa government has been toying with the idea of banning alcohol in the state but is yet to decide.
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