NALANDA: Along the road through Islampur block in Nalanda district of Bihar, motorists stop at Kailashpur village to ask for “directions”. The villagers know what’s coming. “Yahan desi milta hai kya? (is country-made liquor availabe?”). Desi is country-made liquor. “Aap ko chahiye? (do you want some?)” asks one of them. But Kailashpur is taking a break from desi. It’s a village notorious for bootleg booze.
But now there’s prohibition. Twenty-five days ago, the booze cops raided Kailashpuri, seized earthen vats and distillate, made some arrests, and fined the entire village. With their livelihood gone, each family had to pay `5,000.
The administration has appointed ex-servicemen as Special Police Officers to assist the 550 staffers of Prohibition and Excise Department in keeping a check on liquor.
“Does the government’s responsibility end by raiding and penalising us? What will we do now? We have no employment. Forget `5,000, we cannot pay `500,” says Bhooru.
Over the past three weeks, 16 desi-notorious villages were hit with the ‘everybody pays’ law.
The death of 20 people from drinking a brew in Gopalgunj earlier this month became grist for the mill of prohibition. Team Nitish suspended 24 cops, and the entire administration has been clicking its heels to the ‘no booze’ command.