Bihar tipplers pay fines, spend nights in Nepal lockups

Kathmandu, May 22 (IANS) Tipplers from Bihar have been crossing into adjoining Nepal in thousands for their daily liquor quota ever since the Indian state went dry on April 1. However, scores end up spending the night in Nepal Police lockups and pay hefty fines.

Police in Rautahat district of Nepal said at least 70 Indian nationals have been fined Rs.1,000 each for drinking in dozens of shacks that have mushroomed in Nepal territory along Bihar’s border with the Himalayan nation.

These makeshift but illegal huts were set up specially to cater to the needs of the Bacchus-worshipers from India.

“In the last week, we have fined 70 Indians who came here to consume liquor,” said Ganesh Regmi, the superintendent of police in Rautahat.

These Indian nationals were also kept in custody for a night and let off the following day, the SP said.

On Saturday, police rounded up nine Indians, kept them in custody for a night and set them free only after getting written undertakings that they will not show up again in Nepal territory to consume alcohol, Regmi added.

Nepal Police have began taking action against the makeshift shops due to apprehensions of a surge in crime due to short visits by tipplers from India to satisfy their liquor craving.

Police routinely raid liquor shops set up in hutments after 6 p.m. everyday to look for boozing Indians.

Police on the Indian side too have sought coordination with their Nepali counterparts and local authorities to keep a tab on the influx of Indian nationals into the Himalayan nation since it could impact crime on the open India-Nepal border.

Since the international border between India and Nepal is open, free flow of people from either side is allowed after routine security checks.

Now, to avoid any brush with the Nepal Police, many Bacchus-worshipers from India visit nearby Nepali towns, consume alcohol, spend a night there and return to their homes the next day.

After the liquor ban in Bihar, not only have new liquor shops sprung up in Nepal areas along the border but also many enterprising Indians have set up small restaurants in Nepal border towns to specially target Indian tipplers.

(Anil Giri can be reached at girianil@ians.in)

–IANS

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