Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) has urged the Bihar government to end liquor prohibition in the state. The confederation has suggested several steps to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ensure his avowed goals of helping women is achieved without adverse fallouts of prohibition.
In its letter to the leaders of the NDA constituents — Janata Dal (United), Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and Viskassheel Insaan Party, CIABC has pointed out that Bihar is paying a heavy price of the prohibition policy in the form of proliferation of unlawful and spurious liquor, hooch tragedies, the rise of crime syndicates and loss of legitimate government revenues.
Bihar’s growth and development has been affected as the state is losing out on revenue from the legitimate liquor trade, which is pegged at around Rs 10,000 crore per annum.
The CIABC letter comes in the wake of the recent hooch tragedies that claimed over 40 lives in four districts. Since the Nitish Kumar government imposed a ban on liquor in the state in April 2016, around 150 people have lost their lives in various hooch tragedies. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called a high-level meeting on November 16 over the liquor ban in the state.\
CIABC has urged Kumar to end prohibition in a manner that the government is able to get revenues for the state’s development without compromising on the desired goals of the prohibition policy.
It has also suggested the chief minister to direct liquor factories to hire 50 per cent of their workforce as women, which will lead to economic self-reliance and empowerment.
CIABC has also proposed a special cess on the sale of liquor to fund alcohol de-addiction and rehabilitation centres. It has suggested penal compounding of existing liquor-related cases to cut down the massive backlog as well as to help the state earn additional revenues to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore.
Giri also said Bihar’s industry and economy has been severely hit due to prohibition. “Bihar’s loss has turned out to be its neighbours’ gain as liquor sales in border districts of neighbouring states have gone up. Further, thousands of crores are being lost in addition by Bihar as hotel, entertainment, tourism and other allied businesses have been hit by prohibition,” he added.