Nitish Kumar holds all-party meet on prohibition

Patna, Nov 22 (IANS) A week after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar interacted with prominent persons to know their views on total prohibition, on Tuesday he held an all-party meet here on the recently enforced stringent Bihar Excise & Prohibition Act, 2016, officials said.

After the all-party meet, Bihar Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shravan Kumar told the media that the opposition leaders have put their suggestions regarding the new Prohibition Act before the Chief Minister.

“The government will consider their suggestions before taking a final decision on the issue,” he said.

Opposition BJP state President Mangal Pandey said such a meeting should have been called before implementing the new prohibition law in the state. “We have pointed to the government to amend the act.”

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Prem Kumar said he has suggested to change the provisions, like all adult members of the family would be arrested if liquor is found stored in any household and collective fine would be imposed on the village.

“I also demanded that the government should take back this black law,” Kumar said.

The opposition leaders have made it clear that they are not against prohibition but against the draconian law.

Last week, Nitish Kumar interacted with 37 persons on the new prohibition act on the very first day of his “Lok Samvad” programme here.

Principal Excise Secretary Amir Subhani said hundreds of people have also sent their feedback on prohibition through e-mails, SMSs and letters to the state government.

According to official records, over 16,000 people, mostly those engaged in manufacturing illicit liquor, have been arrested and sent to jail for violating the prohibition that came into effect in April 2016.

The Patna High Court, on September 30, quashed the April 5 notification of the state government banning consumption and sale of alcohol in the state, saying it is ultra vires of the Constitution.

Later, the state government moved the apex court, which put the high court order on hold on October 7. The matter is likely to be heard on December 12.

–IANS

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