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Bihar to torch vehicles caught transporting alcohol

Order comes in light of frequent reports of seizure of alcohol from across the state

Gulf News

Patna: The state government in Bihar will set afire any vehicles caught illegally transporting liquor, officials said Thursday.

Bihar imposed total prohibition in April last year, putting a blanket ban on sale, consumption and manufacture of liquor.

“So far, we had been destroying only the alcohol bottles being illegally transported here. Now, we plan to also destroy the vehicles involved in illegal trade of liquor by setting them afire. The liquor mafias will not be spared in any way,” Bihar excise and prohibition minister Abdul Jalil Mastan told the media on Thursday.

The order comes in the light of frequent reports of recoveries of alcohol from across the state despite the total prohibition enforced in the state. The idea apparently is to serve a strong warning to all those involved in the illegal trade.

“The liquor mafias must know their vehicles too will be destroyed with the seized alcohol. There is no question of sparing them,” the minister warned.

Last month, the state government had legislated a harsher law to completely prohibit state government employees and also judicial officials from consuming alcohol, both in the state and outside. The government announced the officials caught under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicants could face severe punishment which includes even their summary dismissal from jobs.

The new law banned all judicial officers or state government officials from taking drinks or any form of intoxicants even on their visits outside the state and announced random medical tests, scanning of social media posts or even resort to sting operations to nab the erring officials.

Both are said to be the major initiatives by the state government to totally ban alcohol in Bihar since it enforced total prohibition last year under pressure from protesting women.

“We were forced to impose a total prohibition impressed with the huge response of the masses, especially women community, welcoming a ban on country-made liquor but also not allowing the foreign liquor to be sold in the state. From now on the money being spent on liquor will be spent on upkeep, education and health of the family,” was how the chief minister declared while enforcing the new law.

What was significant was that leaders cutting across party lines too supported the ban. The lawmakers of the state took a vow not to drink in future. More than 70,000 policemen too followed suit as they also took a pledge not to drink. The administrative officials and other staffs in the state too announced they would support the liquor ban.

The state government claims around Rs100 billion which was being wasted on buying liquor was now being spent constructively post the liquor ban, thus improving the economic condition of the masses.