Total liquor prohibition is first priority: Zoramthanga

Zoramthanga

Restoring a total ban on liquor, one of his pre-poll promises, will be the first priority of the new Mizoram government, MNF chief Zoramthanga, who is set to be the next chief minister, said on Tuesday.

“We will enforce a total prohibition on liquor as many people have died due to consumption of spurious liquor,” the 74-year-old politician said, soon after the MNF bagged 26 of the 40 seats.  

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 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 Mizroam at present.

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

This, however, became an important issue before November 28 elections with the MNF flagging the total prohibition during its campaigning.

In an interview to DH on November 20 at his Aizwal residence, Zoramthanga had said liquor addiction resulted in deaths of more than 500 policemen since the total prohibition was revoked by the Congress as "third class" liquor imported from outside had flooded Mizoram. “More than 6,000 people met untimely deaths due to this and churches, NGOs and parents are against the Congress over this,” he had said.

Many in Mizoram including, liquor traders, however, said that enforcing of a total ban on liquor is now impossible, given the fact that many became "habituated" with the availability of liquor in Mizoram in the past four years.

Zoramthanga, who was elected as the MNF leader of legislation on Tuesday evening said, “Our next priority will be to repair and construct the roads and revamping the state economy. All the roads in Mizoram are in ICU due to the Congress’s neglect.”

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