India's Bihar plans to ban alcohol

Nitish Kumar Image copyright Prashant Ravi
Image caption Mr Kumar had earlier promised voters to restrict opening of liquor shops in villages

The chief minister of the Indian state of Bihar, Nitish Kumar has announced plans to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state.

Mr Kumar had earlier promised voters to restrict the opening of liquor shops in villages.

The move can cost Bihar more than $500 (£327m) in tax revenues, a spokesperson of Bihar's ruling Janata Dal (United) party said.

Alcohol is banned in a number of Indian states, including Gujarat and Manipur.

Mr Kumar is leading a coalition of regional parties which swept to power in Bihar earlier this month.

During his campaign, he had faced protests from women who had complained a growing drink problem in the villages.

"I feel women are suffering more than others (because of alcohol abuse)... I have instructed my officials to start working towards this [alcohol ban] and implement this from the next financial year," Mr Kumar said at a meeting on Thursday.

Last year, the government in southern Kerala state announced plans to enforce total prohibition in 10 years.

Bar owners and hotels challenged the order in court, and the ban was diluted to allow bars to sell beer and wine.

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