Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said the prohibition policy will be extended to toddy from next year and claimed drastric fall in crime figures since declaring Bihar a complete dry state.
"Next year we will free Bihar from toddy," Kumar said addressing a function at Muzaffarpur.
While announcing a complete ban on sale and consumption of country, spiced and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) on April 5, the chief minister had said toddy would be kept out of the purview of prohibition for now but the state government would strictly implement the 1991 guidelines on toddy outlets.
The guidelines prevent opening of toddy shops within 50 metre radius of schools/colleges, hospitals and other important installations in urban areas and 100 metres in rural areas.
Kumar said the state government has constitued a committee under Development Commissioner to promote manufacture of food items from Neera (pre-fermentation sap of toddy tree) on the lines of Tamil Nadu where it has been successfully done for the past 25 years.
Women self help groups would be linked to the manufacture of items from Neera.
Enumerating the effect of complete prohibition, he said as per figures provided by state police chief the crime rate has come down drastically after declaring Bihar a dry state.
He rubbished opposition allegation of return of ‘jungle raj’ and said cases of murder has come down by 39 per cent since imposition of prohibition. Rape incidents have decreased by 30 per cent, loots by 25 per cent, communal fights by 64 per cent and heinous crimes by 24 per cent.
A fall has also been noticed in the number of road accidents, atrocities on women, SC and ST and kindappings, he claimed.
Launching an apparent attack on BJP and its NDA allies, Kumar said, "A few persons are not accepting the change and keep chanting ‘jungle raj’."
Without mentioning the Gaya road rage or the murder of a journalist at Siwan, he said some condemnable crimes did happen. "But prompt and impartial action have been taken immediately."
Kumar highlighted steps taken by his government to empower women by providing them 50 per cent reservation in local bodies both in urban and rural bodies.
Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav hailed the decision of the grand secular alliance to impose complete ban on alcohol.
Hitting out at rivals, he dared the opposition to get President’s rule imposed in Bihar.
LJP of Union minister Ramvilas Paswan has been demanding imposition of President’s rule in Bihar in the wake of the Gaya and Siwan incidents.
Congress state President and minister Ashok Choudhary, Finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and state police chief P K Thakur were present at the function organised by conglomorates of women self help groups at Muzaffarpur.