With an aim to make the state addiction-free, the state government of Bihar on 21 January 2017 launched a Nasha Mukt campaign in the state.
The Nasha Mukt campaign saw participation of about two crore people. The participants including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, all teachers and students of schools and colleges formed human chains across the state. The total length of the chain was 11292 kilometres. It will cover all panchayats of the state.
In view of the human chain, traffic will be stopped from 10 AM to 3 PM on the day.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said that ‘nasha mukti’ in Bihar will herald a new era in the state as no one will be permitted to use intoxicating substance and tobacco products.
The Limca Book of Records announced that this chain, which involved everyone from senior politicians to schoolchildren, is the world’s longest such chain at 11,000 kilometres. The record book will include it in its 2018 publication.
Debate on the Campaign
Earlier on 19 January 2017, the Patna High Court described the state government’s decision to form a human chain as a publicity exercise. The human chain against alcoholism and other addictions were termed as a publicity exercise by a division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhir Singh.
The observation was made while hearing a PIL filed by NGO Forum for Public Interest Litigation against the government’s move to ban traffic movement on highways and involve school children to succeed the event.
Why the event was termed as publicity exercise of the state government?
The court termed the event as a publicity exercise after the DGP, who was summoned along with chief secretary to the court, informed it that emergency services along with government and media vehicles would be exempted from the five-hour traffic restrictions. Terming the exemption of media vehicles from restrictions, the court questioned, since when the media has turned up to be an emergency service? This exemption of media vehicles shows that the event is a public exercise.
Comment: The Nasha Mukt (addiction-free) campaign was a follow-up exercise of ban imposed on liquor in the state. The ban on liquor was imposed in the state on 5 April 2016.