Mizoram plans liquor ban by March

Mizoram plans liquor ban by March

Some liquor vendors had moved the court challenging the government's dry days directive. DH file photo

Mizoram government is planning legislation by March to impose a total prohibition on the sale of liquor and replace the existing Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014.

An official of Mizoram excise department told DH on Saturday that a draft of the legislation was being prepared, which would be introduced in the state Assembly after public feedback.

This comes a few days after Aizawl bench of Gauhati high court quashed the state government's order declaring dry days in Mizoram till March 10. The Mizo National Front (MNF) government had issued the order on December 18, days after it defeated the Congress and came back to power.

Some liquor vendors had moved the court challenging the government's dry days directive. 

The MNF said the total prohibition on liquor was one of its top three agenda as more than 500 people including policemen had died due to consumption of spurious liquor since the Congress revoked the total prohibition in 2014.

The Congress government led by Lal Thanhawla had revoked the 18-year-old Mizoram Liquor (Total Prohibition) Act, 1995 and replaced it with Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014, despite objections by powerful NGOs and churches. Under the new act, an adult consumer is provided with a liquor permit to buy six bottles of 750 ml Indian Made Foreign Liquor and 10 bottles each of beer and wine a month for his/her personal consumption. There are nearly 50 authorised liquor vendors in Mizoram at present.

The Congress said it decided to replace the total prohibition as spurious liquor from neighbouring states like Assam had flooded the state markets, resulting in several deaths and even the state was not earning revenue from the “illegal” business.

Many in Mizoram including liquor traders, however, said enforcement of the total prohibition was impossible given the fact that many became ‘habituated’ with the availability of liquor in Mizoram in the past four years.