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After Bihar liquor ban, alcohol sellers flourish on India-Nepal border

The complete ban on alcohol in Bihar seems to have come as a boon for traders in Nepal who sell low-quality alcohol. According to reports, there has been a sudden rise in small huts along the India-Nepal border to target alcohol customers from Bihar.
India TV News Desk April 11, 2016 8:30 IST
India TV News Desk

Patna: The complete ban on alcohol in Bihar seems to have come as a boon for traders in Nepal who sell low-quality alcohol. According to reports, there has been a sudden rise in small huts along the India-Nepal border to target alcohol customers from Bihar.

Mostly people from the working class come to the Nepali side to buy alcohol but when there is a holiday, businessmen and youth also cross the border, local hoteliers said, adding that there has been a 2-3 fold rise in sale of alcohol in the past one week.

Nepali traders have now increased the prices of local alcohol but the quality was quite poor due to the sudden rise in demand.

At a recent meeting in Forbesganj, border authorities sought help from their Nepali counterparts to curb the movement of people seeking alcohol from Nepal.

Also there are chances that smuggling of alcohol in the border area may increase, border officials said.

Toyam Rai, chief district officer of Sunsari district who led the Nepali team, said that due to the open international border, there was high chance of smuggling of alcohol from Nepal to India, and so the Indian authorities asked Nepal to cooperate in preventing the smuggling.

"With this new unfolding situation, we may face new security threats along the border. We have assured the Indian side about the security arrangements on the border," Tpyam Rai said.

Himanshu Sharma, district magistrate of Araria, local police chiefs and others also participated as part of the Indian side in the meeting.

"With the ban on alcohol in Bihar, the Indian authorities have asked us to curb the smuggling of alcohol from Nepal. They are also concerned that after the ban, criminals may sneak into Nepal that will further invite security complications," said Sunsari Superintendent of Police Sandip Bhandari.

On April 1, Bihar joined the states that have banned liquor, with newly elected Chief Minister Nitish Kumar prohibiting sale and consumption of alcohol. Gujarat, Nagaland, Manipur (in some parts), and Union Territory of Lakshadweep have banned liquor while Kerala has since August 2014 been implementing the ban in a phased manner.