Bihar’s alcohol ban turns Nepal into a boozers’ paradise
With the Indian state’s ban on the production, sale and consumption of alcohol in place, Indian consumers travel to Nepal’s Terai region for a drink. Eyeing new business opportunities, some Indian investors have done the same, putting their money in scores of new bars, and jacking up prices.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After the Indian State of Bihar passed a law last year banning the production, sale and use of alcohol within its territory, Nepal’s Terai region has become a boozers’ paradise.
No sooner had the ban come into force on 1 April that dozens of bars and kiosks sprung up in the border towns and villages of India’s northern neighbour, often jacking up prices to take advantage of the situation.
The anti-alcohol law was the first piece of legislation adopted under Bihar’s newly elected Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
During the election campaign, he had promised to create an alcohol-free state and to eliminate the scourge of alcoholism among the poor and reduce domestic violence, especially against women.
Alcohol consumption is widespread among poor villagers. Its abuse affects families and influence the education of children.
However, despite the ban, sales have not dropped; they just moved and soared in neighbouring Nepal, especially in the border region of Terai.
For example, the village of Mahadevpati (Rautahat District) did not have any alcohol shop until a week ago; now it boasts as many as seven.
According to local sources, the area's pubs are busy from dawn to dusk to serve customers who come across the border.
What’s more, eying business opportunities, Indian traders have invested in such shops, and increased prices.