Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar asked his officials to conduct a door-to-door survey on the lines of the caste-based survey to find out the impact of prohibition in the state.
He asserted that he had implemented the ban on liquor on the demand of women and would never take it back.
His directions came at a time when he had been facing flak from opponents and several sections of the society over the failure of the ban on liquor, hooch deaths, and loss to the government exchequer.
“We conducted the caste-based survey in which information about everything was taken from every household. Conduct a similar door-to-door survey about prohibition in the state. This will also tell us about the people who are in favour of the liquor ban, or are against it,” Nitish said.
The chief minister was speaking at the Deaddiction Day event organised by the prohibition, excise and registration department in the state capital Patna. It was celebrated as Prohibition Day from 2011 to 2016, but the name was changed in 2017.
“A survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 1.64 crore people in the state quit drinking, while another done in 2023 brought to light that 1.82 crore people have stopped consuming liquor. It also showed that 99 per cent of women and 92 per cent of men in Bihar were in favour of prohibition,” Nitish added.
“I implemented prohibition on the demand of women and I will never take it back. Some big people are in favour of drinking and are against me. Remember, Mahatma Gandhi was completely against the consumption of liquor and wanted to implement prohibition. Most of the police personnel and officers are also right, but some indulge in mischief. We must keep an eye on them,” Nitish further said.
Bihar imposed total prohibition in April 2016, banning manufacturing, trade, storage, possession and consumption of all types of liquor. However, it stands severely compromised because of a deeply entrenched and well-oiled liquor mafia that operates in a nexus with enforcement agencies and politicians.
The chief minister cited a World Health Organisation (WHO) report that revealed liquor as the reason for several diseases and around 27 per cent of road accidents.