A Tee­to­taller’s Oath for Of­fi­cers

The Ni­tish gov­ern­ment gets its em­ploy­ees to take an oath to stay off liquor. Will it pay off?

India Today - - STATES - By Amitabh Sri­vas­tava

Ido solemnly swear I will never con­sume liquor in my life­time. I shall be li­able for stern ac­tion if I am ever found in­volved in any ac­tiv­ity in­volv­ing liquor,” reads the oath Bi­har gov­ern­ment’s over 0.5 mil­lion em­ploy­ees were made to take in the last week of July.

Notwith­stand­ing the de­clared pur­pose of rais­ing aware­ness against liquor con­sump­tion, the move hints at the Ni­tish Ku­mar gov­ern­ment’s dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts to en­force to­tal pro­hi­bi­tion (in­tro­duced in the state in April 2016).

Bi­har soft­ened its pro­hi­bi­tion laws in July 2018 and since then, first­time of­fend­ers of liquor con­sump­tion can walk free af­ter pay­ing a penalty of Rs 50,000.

While this op­tion may still be avail­able to the

state’s gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees, their oath and writ­ten dec­la­ra­tion are ex­pected to make it dif­fi­cult for them to break pro­hi­bi­tion laws. Also, the oath ex­pands the scope of their com­plic­ity as they face pros­e­cu­tion for do­ing any­thing re­lated to liquor.

The oath for­mat was sent to all prin­ci­pal sec­re­taries and de­part­men­tal heads by state ex­cise com­mis­sioner B. Kar­tikey Dhanji. They were asked to en­sure com­pli­ance by all staff. To­tal pro­hi­bi­tion was a prom­ise Ni­tish Ku­mar made in the run­up to the 2015 assem­bly elec­tion. Since then, some 116,670 cases have been lodged at var­i­ous po­lice sta­tions un­der the Bi­har Pro­hi­bi­tion and Ex­cise Act, 2016, and 161,415 ar­rests made. Be­tween Jan­uary and March this year,


FALL­ING IN LINE Patna DM Ku­mar Ravi takes oath with of­fi­cials at the Col­lec­torate

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