Bihar alliance, BJP playing snakes and ladders over hooch tragedy

Patna, Dec 17 (IANS)
The ruling JD(U)-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) and the BJP in dry state Bihar are engaged in blame game over hooch tragedy that claimed 73 lives in Saran.
The BJP alleges that due to liquor ban in the state, spurious liquor is being manufactured leading to the death of people.
Over 1,000 people have lost their lives in hooch tragedies and state exchequer is losing Rs 30,000 crore as revenue per year, the BJP claimed.
Though Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar always takes credit of liqior ban in the state, whenever a hooch tragedy occures, he puts the onus of it on every political party which supported the Bill in the Legislative Assembly.
At the same time, Nitish Kumar also wants to prove that the “BJP is against the liquor ban” and wants to send this message to a large section of society, especially women.
During his speech in the state Legislative Assembly, Nitish Kumar asked the BJP (the lone opposition in the party in the state) to clear their stand on liquor ban, saying that: “If you advocate the withdrawal of liquor prohibition law, I will take it back.”
Nitish Kumar to whom liquor ban is a move inspired by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, said every religion recognises liquor as a bad thing.
During the investigation of Saran liquor tragedy, it came to the fore that spirits seized and kept in the Malkhana of Mashrakh police station was allegedly sold to liquor mafias for the manufacturing of alcohol and people died after consuming it.
After that, KK Pathak, the additional chief secretary of liquor prohibition department, directed the District Magistrate of every district to dispose of the seized spirits within a week and under the observation of duty magistrates.
He also asked the authorities to take samples of spirits before and after the liquor ban was imposed in April 2016 and destroy the remaining.
The findings of the investigation are a clear indication that there is a big loophole in the system. The police officials are allegedly involved in selling spirits which was used by the mafias for the making of liquor and it turned horribly wrong.
“Nitish Kumar knew the ground situation but he is taking the moral ground on liquor ban. Nitish Kumar actually believes that the large section of society is benefited with the liquor ban, especially the women. Hence, Nitish Kumar is terming liquor consumer anti-social and giving statements like ‘Jo Piyega Wo Marega’,” said Bharat Sharma, a Patna based political expert.
“If Nitish Kumar withdraws the liquor ban, it will turn suicidal for him and will immensely help BJP, the lone opposition party in Bihar,” Sharma said.
The BJP leaders are slamming the Nitish Kumar government for “failing” to properly implement the liquor ban. It is also demanding compensation for the families of those killed in the hooch tragedies.
Sushil Kumar Modi, the Rajya Sabha MP of BJP said: “After the Bihar government imposed liquor ban in April, 2016, the first hooch tragedy happened in Gopalganj’s Khajurbani village where 19 persons died and 10 persons lost their eyesight permanently. During that time, the Nitish Kumar government had given the compensation of Rs 4 lakh to every family member.”
“After the incident of Chapra (Saran district), the Nitish Kumar government is saying that no compensation had been given to anyone in the past and will not be given in future too. Their claim is wrong. They should check the facts first,” Sushil Kumar Modi claimed.
“Nitish Kumar brazenly says ‘Jo Piyega Wo Marega’. People who lost their lives in Saran hooch tragedy belong to poor and Dalit community people, majority of whom were sole breadwinners of their respective families. Now, those families have only widows and innocent children in the house. If the state government would not help them, then who else will come to their rescue,” the BJP MP said.
“The state government is giving compensation to the family members of deceased who die in road accidents. At that time, the state government does not ask whether the persons who die were coming from the wrong side. Why is the Nitish Kumar government not taking action against DSP and SP rank officers” he asked.

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