Statement of the Excise Minister hints at the interest of Odisha Government to check rising liquor consumption and menace in Odisha. Pujari made this statement while replying an unstarred question numbered 753. Legislator Bhaskar Madhei had asked, as the youths are getting involved in trading of intoxicants, what is government’s stance on making Odisha liquor free.
Statement of the State excise minister proves that at present Odisha Government is not interested in imposing prohibition on liquor in the State. According him, there is no restriction on liquor sell and consumption in most States of the country including the ones bordering Odisha. So, the government fears that ban on liquor will give rise smuggling of illegal liquor from other States to Odisha. It is also anticipated that total prohibition may give chance to illicit narcotics and liquor smugglers to have a heyday.
So, for the present Odisha Government, total prohibition on liquor cannot be a practical decision. But Odisha Government forgets that Bihar government has ignored these hiccups to put ban on liquor sell and consumption in the State.
Big bosses of Odisha government show no intention to remember the ‘Odisha Prohibition Act, 1956’. Odisha State Legislature had passed this law with the intention to introduce and extend prohibition on manufacture, sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor and drugs in the State. Noted Gandhian and former Chief Minister of Odisha, Nabakrushna Choudhury was the craftsman of this law aiming to end liquor consumption in the State.
The President of India had given assent to the Act on January 19, 1957. Even after 64 years this Act is yet to be notified and enforced. Odisha was one of the first States in the country to make a law to materialise Gandhiji’s dream to make India liquor free. The dream of Nabakrushna Choudhury to make Odisha liquor free is still valued all over the country. But in his own State, government liquor is not a bane to be banned.