By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 26, 2024: The new BJP government in Odisha is mulling over making the state liquor-free. Alcohol is prohibited in the states of Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, and Nagaland.

The Odisha social security and empowerment of persons with disabilities minister, Nityananda Gond on Wednesday said the state just cannot encourage liquor sales fearing revenue loss fuelling speculation on a possible ban on liquor in Odisha.

The state government mopped up Rs 6455.06 crore as excise revenue, in 2022-23.

The chief minister Mohan Majhi-led government is working towards making the state liquor-free as the society is being polluted due to liquor addiction, the minister added.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse, “Alcohol addiction is ruining lives. It is leading to distress. Our government will be looking at making Odisha free of liquor and also discourage the use of narcotics. Steps will be taken to bring down the consumption of drugs in the state. We will hold discussions in this regard with Excise and other departments and implement it in a phase-wise manner,” he said, adding prohibition has been implemented in several states.

Odisha enacted the Orissa Prohibition Act in 1956, which was given assent by the President of India on January 19, 1957. However, the Act is yet to be notified and enforced. The state legislature had passed the Orissa Prohibition Act, 1956, with the intention to introduce and extend the prohibition on the manufacture, sale and consumption of liquor and drugs in the State.

The Orissa high court in June 2022 had dismissed a PIL filed in 2013 seeking enforcement of the Orissa Prohibition Act, 1956, after the then Naveen Patnaik-led government in an affidavit said that it has “no proposal to implement the Orissa Prohibition Act, 1956”.

The high court has then stated that a ban on the production and sale of alcohol may not achieve the objective of weaning away the citizens from liquor. “On the contrary, the complete ban may result in proliferation of illicit liquor, increased use of prohibited drugs and other undesirable consequences”, it noted.

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