The Indian government has warned Nepal that as many as 40,000 Indians from the state of Bihar have been crossing into the Himalayan nation to have their daily dose of alcohol.
These border-crossings drinkers were apparently a major concern during a recent meeting hosting officials from the two South Asian neighbours, a Nepalese-language newspaper reported today.
Authorities on both sides of the border are concerned that many of the forty thousand odd drinkers that cross into Nepal every day are members of violent criminal gangs that operate in the 13 border districts of Bihar, and that this could potentially pose a ‘security threat’ to the young republic.
This regular Bihar Swill was brought to light when India’s Central Investigation Department (CID) submitted a report to the state government, the national daily published from Kathmandu claimed today.
Indian tourists constitute an important component of Nepal’s tourism Industry. Tourism entrepreneurs throughout the country probably cannot imagine business without Indians crossing the border to revel in Nepal’s postcard-perfect mountains or seek blessings at the world-famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
But lately there have been these new kind of Indian tourists who enter Nepal not to enjoy nature or pray at the world famous temple. They enter Nepal to get drunk because there is a total ban on alcohol in their own state, that is, Bihar. Many also enter Nepal to smuggle alcohol back into Bihar, a matter of grave concern for the Indian authorities. According to the report, the Indian authorities have strongly urged Nepal to help them curb the smuggling of alcohol across the border.
Nepal and India have open border and people on both sides do not require visas but this is the first time that such a number of people have been crossing the borders for a very sinister reason – to consume alcohol. These whiskey tourists are now causing concern. Apparently, hotels and lodges on the Nepalese side are totally taken over by Indian revellers by Saturday.
The Bihar government placed a total ban on both country liquor as well as Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in the first week of this month. Nitish Kumar, the state’s chief minister, yesterday, in fact, claimed that the ban would bring in an additional US$ 2.25 to nearly $3 million dollars into the economy.