PATNA: A 11-member delegation from the Chhattisgarh government that visited Bihar to study the effects of prohibition and sale of liquor was impressed by the "cooperation and determination" of the people who made it a success.
On the first day of the two-day tour, the delegation visited several villages in Gaya district on Thursday. They spoke to rural women to understand the impact of prohibition on villagers' lives in the past two years.
"There have been tangible improvements in the lives of villagers after liquor was banned here in 2016. Liquor ban has the cooperation and determination of the people," said Rohit Kumar Sai, a legislator from Chhattisgarh's Kunkuri constituency, to The New Indian Express.
During a visit to Suryamandal village under Dobhi block in Gaya district, which was previously notorious for the illegal brewing of country-made liquor, the delegation spoke to the Jeevika Didis (women who work with Bihar's rural livelihood project 'Jeevika'). The women explained to the delegation about alcohol abuse and its harm to family finances, and how it has changed to people now having enough money to spend on basic necessities.
The delegation has two MPs - Dinesh Kashyap from Bastar and Kamla Devi Patle from Janjgir-Champa - and two MLAs - Ashok Sahu from Kawardha and Rohit Kumar Sai. Other members included Chhattisgarh's excise and registration department secretary DD Singh, social entrepreneur Phoolbasan Bai Yadav, former Chhattisgarh State Women Commission chairperson Vibha Rao, and Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCCI) president Amar Parwani.
Total prohibition came into force in Bihar from April 5, 2016 mainly as a response to the demands of rural women who suffered due to the widespread alcohol abuse. According to the state government's economic survey report, the sale of several items grew manifold after prohibition was enforced.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been advocating total prohibition across the country for the past two years. At a public meeting in Chhattisgarh in Maran 2017, he had administered a pledge to thousands of people give up liquor consumption.
Last year, the Chhattisgarh government allowed liquor sales only through a government-owned corporation to curb the illegal sale by middlemen and agents. The government also decided to close down liquor shops in villages having a population of up to 3,000. In FY16-17, Chhattisgarh's excise revenue on liquor stood at Rs 2,200 crore.