Patna, Jan 28 (IANS): Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Saturday demanded lifting of liquor ban in the state as it is "impacting" foreign tourists' arrival and foreign exchange earnings.
He asked Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav to talk to CM Nitish Kumar and get the ban removed.
Manjhi, while addressing a gathering during Budha Mahotsava in Bodh Gaya, claimed that Bihar is losing huge amounts of foreign exchange earnings due to liquor ban.
"Despite it being an international tourist place, the foreigners do not spend more than 2-3 hours in Bodh Gaya. They come to Bodh Gaya and Gaya, visit important places and return to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh or Hazaribagh in Jharkhand," Manjhi said.
"I request Tejashwi to talk to the chief minister and restart the liquor operation in the state. If we want the foreign tourists to stay longer and spend more here, their meals and drinks will have to be taken care of. If liquor is restarted, their arrival will surely increase ten-fold," Manjhi said.
The Budha Mahotsava is being organised after two years in the Kaal Chakra ground in Bodh Gaya and it was inaugurated by deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav.
Notably, liquor ban in the state has led to spurt in hooch tragedies. The latest occurred in Siwan on January 22 in which 15 persons have lost their lives so far. One of the victims succumbed to it on Friday night.