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Nitish rejects any U-Turn on liquor ban


Rejecting the speculations of a partial ban on liquor, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has declared on Friday that there would be "complete prohibition" in the state from April next year. The Chief Minister said his officers are working on a comprehensive new policy relating to this ban.Prohibition is the first major announcement by Kumar after he was sworn in as Chief Minister for the fifth time last month following an emphatic election victory.

However, some reports suggested that because of the huge revenue loss involved, the state government was considering a ban on only country liquor to start with.The Bihar government earned nearly Rs. 3,500 crore last year through taxes on the sale of alcohol.

However, Kumar dismissed those reports and said, "A rethink is out of the question. The loss of revenue can't be the reason for a ban in phases.It is easier to announce such a decision than enforce it, but seeing the enthusiasm and excitement among women over this announcement, we've decided to go ahead."

He said that the biggest challenge in enforcing an alcohol ban was smuggling from neighbouring states like Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal. In the year 2014-15, the government raked in Rs. 3,650 crore in revenues, a growth of more than 10 times over Rs. 319 crore recorded in 2005-06.

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