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Women support Bihar’s stringent prohibition law

Patna : The fairer gender in Bihar are all for prohibition of liquor. While the men are divided over the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill 2016 that was recently passed by the assembly, women in the state are happy that the legislation will ensure a complete ban on liquor in the state.

“After constructing roads and providing electricity in the last 10 years, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has now done a good job by banning liquor,” said Munia Devi, a resident of Gaunpura village near Patna. “No one will dare to violate the stringent law,” she told IANS.

Clearly, she doesn’t see the law to be draconian as has been suggested by a large number of men and the BJP.

Munia is not alone. A similar sentiment was expressed by Shanti Devi, a vegetable vendor at Pethia Bazaar on Patna’s outskirts.

“We don’t care whether it is draconian or not. What matters is that the liquor ban should be total. Women suffer the most because of liquor trade,” she said.

“Liquor ban is good for us. My husband, who spent half of his daily earnings on liquor, now saves money for the family,” said Shanti.

Both Munia and Shanti thanked the Chief Minister for imposing prohibition in April.

It’s not much different in middle class families where the prohibition has been welcomed by the women.

Manorama Singh, a mother of two, said only a tough law can ensure a total liquor ban.

“There are hundreds of rules to control pollution and smoking in public places. But no one cares to adhere to those rules. But here the liquor ban has been strictly implemented. The new legislation will address the loopholes that might be there,” she told IANS.

Mamata Sharma, a school teacher in Naubatpur, said the new legislation will create fear among the liquor mafia who take advantage of the shortcomings in the old prohibition law. “Fear of law is a must,” Mamata said.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who lauded the support he received, has said that women are now empowered and they would not allow their family members to consume or store liquor in their houses.

Under the law, all adult members of the family could be arrested if liquor was found stored in any household.

But this has certainly irked many men. Sumit Kumar is one of those not happy with the new law.

“The new prohibition law is like a Talibani diktat. Any one can be targeted by the police in the name of prohibition. It is wrong,” he said, adding that the BJP has rightly called the legislation as draconian.

Maheshwar Singh, a businessman, said the government should ensure that the new liquor law is not misused.

“There are some stringent provisions and the government must ensure that the concerned officials do not harass innocent people,” he told IANS.

The Chief Minister, meanwhile, has been assuring that no innocent person will be harassed. He said seven excise officials were recently dismissed in Mohania in Kamiur district after they were caught indulging in corrupt practices.

According to Nitish Kumar, any one found misusing the law will face three years’ jail term and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.