Other States

Church, NGOs hail Mizoram move on liquor ban

The powerful church, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), have welcomed the new Mizo National Front (MNF) government’s move to ban liquor as a high-level committee began working on total prohibition in Christian-majority Mizoram.

In keeping with his party’s poll promise, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Monday announced a ban on the sale of liquor during Christmas festivities from December 21 to January 14 next year. The liquor vending licenses of Mizoram Police battalions and three State-run corporations were cancelled, too.

The move came four years after Lal Thanhawla’s Congress government replaced total prohibition with controlled prohibition through the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act of 2014 to allow the opening of wine shops.

“Mizo society has been greatly affected by the liquor and drug menace. The government’s move is encouraging,” Vanlalruata, president of the Central Young Mizo Association, said.

“The decision to close all government-run liquor shops is a step in the right direction. The churches have always been against opening of wine shops,” said Rev F. Lalrinnunga, president of Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, a coordination body of 14 major churches in the State.

The church and the NGOs have also appreciated the constitution of the Liquor Prohibition Coordination Committee for checking illegal supply of liquor from outside the State and restricting illegal sale by private vendors.

The committee, headed by Excise and Narcotics Minister K. Beichhua, has senior government officers and leaders of churches and NGOs as its members. The committee’s recommendations are expected to help Mizoram return to the days of prohibition.

Total prohibition was first imposed in 1997 via the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act during the Congress rule. Officials said prohibiting private players from selling liquor in the State would take some time as a new legislation would be required.

Total prohibition is expected to cost the State government an average ₹70 crore in revenue from the sale of alcohol. Mr. Thanhawla had said total prohibition could not check the flow of alcohol in Mizoram and only helped bootleggers who brought cheap liquor from adjoining Assam to sell at exorbitant prices in the State. Officials also attributed Mizoram’s drug abuse to a ban on alcohol.

Mizoram has for long battled narcotic substances such as heroin and methamphetamine that come in from Myanmar across the porous border.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:11:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/church-ngos-hail-mizoram-move-on-liquor-ban/article25792670.ece

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