Aizawl, Feb. 11 (IANS): Maintaining its pre-poll pledges to enforce total prohibition on sales of alcohol in the mountainous state, a new bill would be tabled in the next Mizoram Assembly session, beginning second week of March, a Minister said on Monday.
“We would make a law soon for complete banning of sales of alcohol in Mizoram. We would move a bill in this regard in the next Assembly session, beginning second week of March,” Mizoram Excise and Narcotics Minister K. Beichhua told IANS.
The next session of the Assembly will be the budget session and the first full-fledged session after Mizo National Front (MNF) headed by Chief Minister Zoramthanga assumed office after 10 years on December 15 trouncing the Congress in the November 28 polls.
He said that the proposed bill will replace the existing Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014.
“This is our pre-poll promise to the people. Our officials are now calculating the revenue likely to be lost after the complete ban on the sales of alcohol. We are also exploring the ways and means how the loss of revenue could be compensated from other sectors.”
The Minister said that the MNF government has given highest priority to impose total prohibition on sales of liquor and would also enforce various other steps to curb the drugs and alcohol menaces.
Beichhua said: “The government as a prelude to prohibition and to maintain a liquor-free Christmas and New Year, on December 18 had declared dry days from December 21 to January 14 and the ban was later extended up to March 10.”
But the Aizawl bench of the Gauhati High Court quashed the notification following a petition filed by the liquor vendors and warehouse dealers.
“Drugs and alcohol had killed many youngsters and caused many young women to be widows after their husbands fell victim to drugs and alcohol,” Beichhua said.
The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014, was enforced by the previous Congress government in January 2015 putting back the 18-year-old total prohibition Act.
The liquor vendors in Mizoram earlier said that due to the government’s ban on sale of liquor, they incur a loss of INR 4 lakh per day while the liquor stock was piling up because of purchases made till the end of the current fiscal (2018-19).
With a population of 1,091,014 (according to 2011 census), Mizoram is one of three states of India with a Christian majority (87 per cent) and a closely bonded society upholding perfection in all spheres of life.
The home minister asked the chief ministers not to worry and assured that the rights of the indigenous people of the Northeast would not be diluted, the official said.