Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday expressed distress over a recent hooch tragedy in the state that has claimed five lives, and urged citizens to realise that his government has introduced prohibition since alcohol was a “dirty thing”.
He also reiterated that the move, inspired from Gandhian ideals, was taken in view of a strong demand from womenfolk and he was in favour of “dismissal” of police personnel, who were found guilty of flouting the law by drinking liquor.
Mr Kumar was talking to reporters here on the sidelines of a function where a number of projects aimed at strengthening the health sector in rural areas were launched.
He was responding to queries about the loss of lives, following consumption of spurious liquor, in Muzaffarpur district, where a number of police personnel have been placed under suspension in the wake.
Referring to Saturday’s Niti Aayog meeting during which he interacted, via video conferencing, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Kumar reaffirmed he was in favour of “one nation one rate” for power, asserting that the present system of states being charged differently for electricity was placing Bihar at a disadvantage.
“It (liquor) in itself is a dirty thing (gandi cheez). The ill-effects get multiplied when consumed in an adulterated form. No wonder Mahatma Gandhi was so strongly opposed to it. Our womens pleas had made us place a ban,” said Mr Kumar, referring to the introduction of prohibition by his government in April 2016.
He rued “some people, nonetheless are up to mischief always and they indulge in acts that goes against our well intentioned move… I am, therefore, for not just departmental action but dismissal of police personnel if they are ever found to be drunk. They have taken oath to stay away from alcohol”.
“The Centre has undertaken a drive to bring electricity and piped water to all households. We have done the needful in the state already. But, under the existing system, we end up spending more for the same than many other states. I, therefore, suggested one nation one rate,” the Chief Minister said.
Mr Kumar was speaking outside the Chief Minister’s secretariat where he presided over a function marking the launch of ”e-Sanjivvani”, a telemedicine service for the rural areas, ”Ashwin portal” to ensure timely payment of stipends to accredited social health activists, and ”Wonder App”, which promises better delivery of ambulance services.