Kolkata, February 9: Elahiganj in Murshidabad district joins the list of liquor ban and becomes the first village in Bengal to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol and narcotics. Earlier the states like Gujarat, Manipur and Lakshadweep too don’t allow the sale and consumption of liquor. If the people of Elahiganj flout the rules they will be imposed with strict fine.Elahiganj is an underdeveloped village where agriculture is the predominant economic activity. 6000 residents of Elahiganj stepped forward to curb the sale and consumption of alcohol post the deaths of people consuming hooch in Galsi of neighbouring Burdwan district in January. The villagers formed a committee of 80 people that took the decision to implement the ban in the first week of January. The decision was announced from the mosques over loudspeakers and no one raised any objection.
“We have successfully turned our village into an alcohol and drug-free one for the past one month. Several residents of the village who were alcoholics have lost everything and a year ago a youth of the village was killed during a drunken clash. So, most villagers were in favor of the ban,” Mohammad Nur Amin, a cleric, said.
“We have decided to impose a fine Rs 2,000 from anyone consuming alcohol, or hooch, in Elahiganj. If anybody dares to sell alcohol he has to pay a fine of Rs 5,000,” Amin added. Following the announcement, no one has been seen consuming alcohol in the village, a common sight earlier. Only three people were caught in a drunken state and each of them was fined.
The alcohol market in Bengal comprises a network of around 2,000 bars and a little over 3,000 retailers. The number of distributors stands at 104. “The Rs 6,000 released from the three has been kept with the committee. It will be used to help the poor and needy,” Syed Nurujjaman, a committee member, said.
“My husband used to consume hooch almost every day. He also beat me up for money. But he has stopped after the ban was imposed,” Fatima Bibi, a villager, said. Several villagers expressed gratitude saying that the police officers helped them. The police even assured of help in case of any trouble after the ban.