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Only CM can take decision on liquor ban in Odisha: Excise Minister

BHUBANESWAR: With demand for total prohibition in Odisha gaining momentum after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar declared the ban on alcohol in Bihar, Excise Minister Damodar Rout on Saturday put the ball into the Chief Minister’s court.

Rout said only Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik could take a decision regarding total prohibition in the state.

The Bihar-Odisha excise act was formed in 1915. However, making amendments in the act Nitish Kumar has announced the liquor ban in Bihar. But adapting similar prohibition in the state totally depends on Naveen Patnaik’s decision, said the Minister.

Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Odisha Madamukti Abhiyan have been demanding total prohibition in the state. They held a demonstration on Friday urging the Odisha government to follow his Bihar counterpart.

“Nitish Kumar has kept his promises made to the people of Bihar during the elections. Now Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take a cue from Bihar and save lakhs of poor people from the jaws of alcohol,” said Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi president Prahallad Sinha.

Stating that if Bihar government could forgo Rs 3,650 crore excise revenue per annum, they said Odisha should have no hesitation to ban liquor since its earning from the sector is only Rs 2,100 crore.