Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today rejected Opposition's claim of "free flow" of liquor in Bihar and said that its consumption was less in the state in comparison to other parts of the country. At the same time, he said the collection of excise tax on liquor sale was a 'staggering' Rs 1500 crore in 2011-2012 which comes as a boost to the cash-strapped state to implement various welfare schemes for the people.
"Let the opposition suggest substitute means of tax collection if it wants to put a stop to liquor sale in Bihar," he said replying to a two-day debate in the legislative council on the Governor's speech at the joint session of the legislature.
Claiming that shops selling liquor were fewer in number in Bihar than elsewhere in the country, he said there has, infact, been no increase in the number of licensed liquor shops since the NDA government under him took over six years ago.
He denied the existence of liquor shops in each village and said there was only one authorised shop within three panchayats and in all, the number of such shops in Bihar stood at 5,474 only.
He said there were only five liquor shops in Bihar per one lakh population compared to 42 each in Karnakata and Himachal Pradesh. The annual consumption per person in Bihar was a paltry five boxes per year as against 100 boxes in Delhi.