Tradesmen furious over Prohibition law in Bihar

Tradesmen furious over Prohibition law in Bihar

Patna: Nitish Kumar’s Prohibition policy has been called ridiculous time and again, but to no avail. It comes as no surprise that businessmen have now started to openly criticize this clumsy law. Members of trade bodies in Bihar yesterday (June 19) condemned the arrest of a Chinese businessman on the charge of possession of liquor.
“Such type of incidents will affect investment in state as traders, businessmen will be afraid of coming to Bihar due to the strict (dry) law,” said Satyajit Singh, owner of Shakti Sudha Agro Ventures Pvt Ltd which manufactures processed gorgon nuts. “The police were quick in arresting a Chinese national for possessing liquor, but the police are yet to find any lead on who supplied the liquor to him.”
Satyajit only echoes what the ordinary Bihari has been saying all along. The prohibition law has created a huge mafia and has turned once law-abiding citizens into criminals. He accused some police personnel of being in cahoots with the liquor mafia.
P.K. Agrawal, president of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the state government should give some leniency in the law especially for foreigners visiting state.
“Gujarat too is a dry state but foreigners and those from outside Gujarat are allowed to drink liquor on submission of their identity cards and other documents,” Agrawal said.
He also shared an instance when he met a senior Sri Lankan government official. “The official welcomed prohibition but at the same time told us that for foreign tourists and officials the government should make some relaxation in the law,” added Agrawal.
The arrest is also ruffling diplomatic feathers.
The city police have sent a detailed report to the Chinese embassy about the arrest. The fax message, sent on Monday, points out that liquor is prohibited in Bihar.
The fax was sent to the Chinese embassy after Wang Lifeng, economic & commercial consul at the Chinese consulate in Calcutta, visited Patna and met senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj and Gardanibagh police station house officer C.P. Yadav.
Despite Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s moralistic posturing, it is clear that this prohibition law has affected commerce, trade, hospitality, and other sectors. Total prohibition has never worked, but Nitish, it seems, is too stubborn to admit that he should modify this draconian law.

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