Liquor ban evokes mixed response

Liquor ban evokes mixed response

No more tipsy: Many in Bihar feel tourism industry will be affected

Liquor ban evokes mixed response

The sudden decision of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ban liquor even in urban areas has caught many persons in the hospitality sector unawares. Take for instance the premier Hotel Maurya which, a couple of days back, procured its fresh licence for the financial year 2016-17 after paying a licence fee of Rs 20 lakh.

“Our business will be adversely affected as we earned a revenue of around Rs 2 crore per annum from our customers drinking liquor at the bar,” said the general manager of the Maurya, BD Singh.

Singh’s sentiments were echoed by an office-bearer of a prominent city club – Bankipore Club. “On April 2, we paid Rs 6 lakh for the renewal of bar licence. Now within two days, we have been informed that not one drop of liquor could be served anywhere in Bihar. At least we should have been given some deadline before imposing a complete ban on liquor, since we still have stocks worth Rs 10 lakhs,” said the club office-bearer, who is a serving government employee.Since Bihar attracts lots of foreign tourists throughout the year, the tourism industry feels that a complete ban on liquor would dissuade such tourists from visiting Bihar. “The tourism and hotel industry will be hit hard. Many foreign tourists come here to relax. These people are used to consuming alcohol. A total prohibition will make them feel uncomfortable and they may alter their Bihar visit plan. I personally feel that the government, instead of being hasty, should have allowed drinks in three or five star hotels,” opined president of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, OP Shah.

But not everyone is so disappointed. “I strongly support Nitish Kumar’s decision to ban liquor. This will not only help check growing incidents of domestic violence, but also make crime graph fall,” argued Suman Kumar, a businessman, who owns the food-joint Ji Huzur. “Initially, there may be some reservations, but mark my words, in the long run, the prohibition will make people mentally, physically and financially stronger,” Suman said.

Another prominent businessman Ashwani Kumar Rastogi agreed with Suman. “Nitish ji has done well in imposing prohibition even in urban areas. Or else, it would have led to chaos, confusion and smuggling of liquor from one area to another,” Rastogi told Deccan Herald, adding that the prohibition order will also see a decline in road accidents since well-off people, particularly youths, have, of late, been involved in drunk driving here in the state capital.


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