Alcohol is to be banned in India’s third-most populous state in a move that will affect nearly 100 million people.
Prohibition will be introduced to Bihar in northern India from April 1 next year, after the chief minster said he would honour a pledge made to women’s groups ahead of recent state elections.
“Women in the state started an anti-liquor campaign,”said Nitish Kumar, announcing the ban on Thursday. “Increasing liquor consumption was a major cause for domestic violence, particularly against women, and had contributed to a rise in crimes.
“I have instructed my officials to start working towards this [ban] and implement this from the next financial year.”
Doesn’t anyone ever learn from history?
The ban will be Bihar’s second experiment with prohibition, after a failed attempt from 1977-79 which saw an proliferation of smuggling from neighbouring states where alcohol remained legal.
However, Mr Kumar dismissed concerns that the ban could be flouted or lead to another rise in bootlegging and smuggling criminal activity.
“I know people will say that even after banning liquor it will be sold illegally. If it happens then we will deal with that strongly,” Mr Kumar said, without providing further details.