A day after BJP-ally and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi alleged that liquor was freely available to bureaucrats, officers and those who could “afford” it in dry Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday also expressed concern over bootlegging and sought community partnership to bring an end to it.Addressing the general public in Sitamarhi district on the third day of his “Vikas Karyon Ki Sameeksha Yatra,” Nitish conceded that illicit liquor trade was thriving in dry Bihar. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant and the whistleblowers will get protection. Their identities will not be revealed,” he said.The CM said that local police helpline and control room numbers were displayed at public places and urged women and youngsters to support their efforts in ban implementation. Total alcohol prohibition was enforced in Bihar on April 5, 2016, “especially on the strong demand made for it by the womenfolk of the state.”Nitish said there were few people who had made it a lucrative business but the state government was in process of establishing a special cell for ensuring effective prohibition.Earlier on Wednesday, Manjhi, also the leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, had dared the state to use breathalyzers on its senior officials, to expose who all were still consuming alcohol. “I have said it as a friend of Nitish. Everyone knows that the poor are targeted whereas the higher rung of the society is easily getting away despite defying the ban,” Manjhi reiterated on Thursday.Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has also continuously made charges of liquor ban “failing” in Bihar. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has alleged “home delivery” of liquor, which is smuggled in the state through Nepal and Jharkhand, though the government has denied it.
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