Following the ban on liquor in Bihar, Jharkhand is expecting a 25% increase in the sale of alcohol, which is also likely to increase its annual revenue by a few hundred crores.
There are 10 districts in Jharkhand bordering Bihar, where the sale of liquor has gone up ever since the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government enforced a liquor ban from 7 April. “There is a huge demand for alcohol from the border areas, following which the fixed quota has been increased from two to three times. The state’s revenue may go up to Rs 1,100 crore per annum,” Jharkhand Wine Dealers’ Association secretary Anup Chawla said. Sources said there is an increased demand for opening liquor shops in these areas. In March, the state excise department earned Rs 18 crore more from the applicants (compared to what they earned last year) for getting licences for opening liquor shops, out of which Rs 17 crore came from the border districts of Palamau, Chatra, Garhwa, Hazaribagh, Giridih, Koderma, Deoghar, Dumka, Godda and Sahibganj. Around Rs 58 crore was collected in March for licences issued for 2016-17. This figure was Rs 40 crore in 2015-16. Jharkhand’s Deputy Commissioner Excise Gajendra Singh said: “The sale reports from districts will come to us next month. We are not in a position to say anything now. A clear picture on the impact of Bihar’s prohibition will emerge only in May.” Meanwhile, there is pressure to enforce prohibition of liquor in Jharkhand, too. Nitish Kumar will visit Dhanbad on 10 May where he may talk about benefits of liquor prohibition at a function.