Bihar: After liquor, the Bihar government has cracked down on gutka and pan masala, banning the sale, distribution, storage and publicity of such tobacco products.
The government issued an order on Friday, authorising officials to conduct raids and inspections and take action against those flouting the guidelines.
The ban, which will remain effective for the next one year, on edible items having tobacco content, both packaged and unpackaged, aims at preventing the deterioration of public health, officials said.
But, the order will hit the business interests of a large number of small businessmen and vendors.
The Bihar government had banned sale and consumption of country and spiced liquor in rural areas from April 1 this year, but had allowed sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor in towns and cities.
The decision, announced by chief minister Nitish Kumar after a cabinet meeting, made it clear that no alcohol can be legally consumed in all of Bihar, including bars and restaurants.
Alcohol prohibition in India is in force in the states of Gujarat, Nagaland and parts of Manipur; as well as in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Kerala has been implementing prohibition in a phased manner since 2014.
Kumar has repeatedly talked about the positive social impact the ban would have, especially on women – his vote bank, to justify it.