Bhubaneswar: Taking cue from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Odisha Madamukti Abhiyan today demanded total prohibition in the state.
“Nitish Kumar has kept his promises made to the people of Bihar during the elections. Now Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take a cue from Bihar and save lakhs of poor people from the jaws of alcohol,” said Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi president Prahallad Sinha.
Seeking a total ban on the manufacture and sale of liquor in Odisha, Sinha and Odisha Madamukti Abhiyan leader Pramila Swain said “Alcohol is the main cause of all social problems in the state. Everybody knows its adverse impact on society. It affects every family. Time has come for total prohibition.”
Kumar has announced a ban on liquor from April 1, 2016, the day on which Odisha celebrates its birth anniversary, Singh pointed out.
“Naveen should also make such announcement before the Utkal Diwas (April 1),” he said.
Stating that if Bihar government could forgo Rs 3,650 crore excise revenue per annum, they said Odisha should have no hesitation to ban liquor since its earning from the sector is only Rs 2,100 crore.
“Loss due to spread of liquor in Odisha is a whopping Rs 2 lakh crore and rural Odisha is facing the real heat from alcoholism,” Sinha said adding, 60 per cent of road accidents take place only due to excess consumption of liquor in the state.
He said a large number of tribal villagers have shunned liquor in the past several years because of the anti-liquor campaign led by members of the Odisha Madamukti Abhiyan.
But a complete prohibition by the state government would be a permanent solution to the problem and to the deaths caused by spurious liquor, said Swain.
Swain pointed out that Odisha’s former Chief Minister Nabakrushna Choudhury had initiated steps to ban manufacture and sale of liquor in the state by enacting the Orissa Prohibition Act of 1956.
“However, subsequent governments showed no seriousness in the matter,” she said.