Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has taken up prohibition on a 'mission mode', today instructed police to check whether those linked with liquor trade previously had found an alternate vocation, and book those who were continuing in the trade.
Speaking on the occasion of Prohibition Day function, he also asked senior police officials to take stock of the conduct of policemen at the lower level and find out how the illegal supply of liquor was continuing, despite the decision taken that officers in-charge of such police stations, where illegal alcohol trade was detected, would not get field posting for 10 years.
The Chief Minister issued these two-point instructions to police headquarters in a bid to further intensify the crackdown against liquor in the state.
He said that it had come to light that notwithstanding prohibition, liquor was being illegally transported to the state not only from neighbouring Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Nepal, but also from a far off state like Haryana.
The police is already on the job to probe the illegal liquor trade network from a far away place like Haryana, he said.
Drawing the attention of Additional Director General of Police (Headquarter) Sunil Kumar and his counterpart in Law and Order Alok Raj, who were also present at the function, Kumar said an exercise should be initiated to gauge whether those involved in liquor trade earlier were surviving on their old income or have found new ways by surreptitiously supplying alcohol at a premium.
"Garland those who have opted out for a good
alternative and catch those still pursuing the old habit of minting money through illegal trade in alcohol," Kumar said in the presence of Excise and Prohibition Minister Abdul Jalil Mastan, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and Principal Secretary of Excise and Prohibition Amir Subhani.
The state government had offered to allocate outlets of Sudha diary to the shops selling liquor previously, but media reports suggested that there were not many takers for the offer.
The Chief Minister said that it was a known fact that people have minted huge wealth out of liquor trade and that demonetisation would have an impact on them.
Kumar, who recently heard views of legislators at an all-party meeting and also of a cross-section of citizens on some provisions in new Bihar Excise Act, 2016 which they termed "stringent", said, "We are taking legal opinion on the suggestions and if need arises, some changes could be brought in a few sections of the Act in the state Assembly."
The JD(U) leader, however, categorically said the decision on prohibition was "atal" (unequivocal) and there could be no compromise with the liquor ban.
"For those who cannot live without liquor, what is the need to live in Bihar? Such people should take their shelter out of the state," Kumar said.
Observing that despite tough penal provision against heinous crimes like rape and murder, "such crimes do take place", the Chief Minister stressed that the success of prohibition depended on "jan samarthan" (people's cooperation).