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Bihar

The Hunt For The Last Tipple

A month on, Nitish Kumar’s push for an alcohol-free state remains a case of ‘you win some, you lose some’

The Hunt For The Last Tipple
Dutiful Leisure | Photograph by Mihir Srivastava
The Hunt For The Last Tipple
outlookindia.com
2016-05-06T21:05:21+05:30

It’s 10 pm on a Sunday and Patna’s usually busy Fraser Road bears a deserted look. Life has visibly changed in the one month since Bihar chief minister Nitesh Kumar prohibited consumption and sales of liquor—both country-made and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). The city sleeps early these days; it no longer gives the feeling of being alw­ays on the move. A bagger, with scraggly beard and heat-burned face, is smoking a chillum. Nearby some lab­ourers are in languid stupor. “I haven’t slept well for a month,” says one of them, Ramu from Samastipur, 30. “After a hard day’s toil in the scorching sun, daaru (liquor) is a must to soothe the nerves. I can’t sleep and have cramps all night.” The desperate ones take risks to lay their hands on smuggled liquor. It’s a status symbol to drink during prohibition.

These are early days, though, and it’s clear that Nitish means business. The bars have shut down. Mahesh Kumar, 50, is a security guard at the famous Mamta Bar. “How much do guards get paid in Delhi?” he asks. The premium hotels—Patliputra, The Panache or Chanakya—are almost empty. Locals don’t seem to like dining without wining; sales have plummeted.  

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