Alcohol will be banned in Bihar from April 1 next year, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced on Thursday fulfilling a promise he made to women before the assembly elections in the state.
"I had made a promise that if my government returns to power we will impose prohibition. The government is committed to fulfill its promise," he told a function on Excise Day in Patna.
The state earns a revenue of Rs 400 crore annually from liquor sale.
"But in the interest of women and poor, the state government will impose ban on liquor from April 1, 2016," he said.
Kumar directed Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and Principal Secretary Excise K K Pathak to start working on a new excise police to ban liquor in the state from April 1, 2016.
Women had requested Kumar at a function ahead of the October-November assembly polls to stop sale of liquor saying it was ruining their homes and Kumar had promised to do so if he returned to power.
The promise has believed to have paid rich dividends to Kumar in the elections as women voters outnumbered men by nearly 5 per cent in all five phases of voting.
Announcing the ban on Thursday, Kumar spoke about the ill effects of liquor and that women were the worst sufferers.
He said it is seen that a poor family is ruined due to liquor addiction of its male member. "We wish to return happiness on the face of such families by imposing the ban."
He also stressed on the role of NGOs in spreading awareness among the people and said those who excelled in it would be awarded.
The erstwhile ruling National Democratic Alliance in Bihar had implemented a liberal excise policy under the earlier government headed by Kumar himself due to which a large number of liquor shops came up in the state and turned into a big issue in the recently-concluded assembly elections.