CM Nitish Kumar says will ban liquor in Bihar from April 1 next year

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Sticking to his promise made before the Bihar assembly elections, chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday liquor will be banned in the state from April 1 next year.

Kumar made the announcement at a function in Patna to mark Prohibition Day. He hadmade the promise to bring in the ban in July this year.

The Bihar CM said the poor were consuming liquor, which was affecting their families and their children’s education. The increasing liquor consumption was also a major cause for domestic violence, particularly against women, and had contributed to a rise in crimes.

“Women are suffering more than anyone else due to increasing liquor consumption,” Kumar said. “If they are happy, state’s development drive would get the necessary acceleration. We will find ways to make up for the possible Rs 4,000 crore loss from this head,” the Bihar CM said.

Bihar has seen several protests by women’s groups since the excise ministry went into an overdrive in 2007, issuing permits for marketing liquor across the state to shore up internal revenue in a fund-starved state.

“The final modalities are still to be worked out,” Ajay Alok, a spokesperson for Janta Dal (United).

An official at the chief minister’s office said Kumar took the decision after a high-level meeting with officials.

Consumption of alcohol is already prohibited in the states of Gujarat, Kerala, Manipur, and Nagaland.

Stocks of liquor makers fell after reports of the ban. United Spirits fell 3.6%, United Breweries was down 2.9% and Radico Khaitan slumped 7.5%. The report of the ban comes at a time when the country is a hotly contested market for global drinks makers such as Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

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