The precise Laws on prohibition in Bihar may not matter much. But the inaccuracies in implementation make it harder to answer a more important question: Are the people of Bihar going to easily accept ?
There appears to be more cheers for the alcohol-deprived people in Bihar as Indian Railways is going to introduce an aptly named ‘Bewda Express’ train for them. Travel on the train will be free of cost. Dep Patna : 19:00 every Friday. Return: early Monday morning.
Though it may appear as a respite, observers view this move as a direct confrontation between the Centre and the State. The irony being – while the State tries to abolish it, the Centre tries to promote it; each having its own views.
Ever since Nitish Kumar government declared Bihar a dry state, imposing total prohibition on the sale and consumption of liquor after winning the 2015 elections, alcoholics in Bihar have been facing a lot of difficulties. With thousands of them behind bars, others getting beaten up by alcohol vigilantes, hotels and clubs getting deserted, and the business in general drying up, the situation was becoming really grim for the lovers of alcohol. Even the Army has warned both serving and retired military personnel not to carry liquor while transiting through Bihar. Its personnel were arrested for violating the state government’s prohibition law. In an incident, the GRP arrested an Army jawan who was travelling on the Jammu Tawi-Guwahati Amarnath Express after a search of his baggage revealed some liquor bottles. Possession of any liquor is a crime here.
Booze lovers run beyond Bihar. Those residing closer to the border areas were heading for neighboring states like Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh or Nepal. They feel that they must have their daily dose of their drink but people living in Central Bihar couldn’t afford to do that because of the time and cost of travel became deterants. Showering special kindness on these people, Railways minister Suresh Prabhu announced this very special weekend train for them. The highlight being : there is no need of any ticket checking staff. One would travel free !
Views on Bewda Express.
Bihar Government: It is an attack on federalism. “This is just vote bank politics as Modi government is trying to corner the votes of all the alcoholics. They are also trying to ensure our policies fail in the state. We can’t allow this and will start a Rail Roko Andolan to protest against this train”, said a local JDU leader.
For the Bihar government, enforcing a liquor ban is not the only challenge. De-addiction of hundreds of thousands of alcoholics poses a more tough task for it.
Bihar Excise and Prohibition Minister Abdul Jalil Mastan: With the liquor ban, alcoholics will now have to live without alcohol or they have to quit the habit. In such a situation, all of them would develop some health related problems; counselling and treatment would be provided to them by doctors at de-addiction centres.
Others : Welcome news ! Well done, thank you !! Such an exciting weekend sojourn, the people of India had never it so thrilling in the last 70 years or so. People burst firecrackers outside Patna railway station and laddoos were distributed to the employees of Indian Railways.
The most thrilling thing for the lovers of the amber fluid is that the train will go to a different city every weekend. If it will be Purulia in Bengal one week, then it will be Mughal Sarai in UP the next week and so on. “Through this initiative, we will also be bringing tourism to even the most remote parts of India”, a Railways official said.
But the ride is free…… how will it promote railways ?