As Monday dawns, Mizoram goes dry again with the complete ban on liquor coming into force.
The Mizo National Front (MNF) led by chief minister Zoramthanga has as promised in its poll manifesto imposed total prohibition by passing a new legislation legislation recently that came into force from Monday.
State Excise and Narcotics Minister K Beichhua on Sunday said that the MNF government had taken the step to save future generations from the menace of alcohol and drugs, and establish a clean Mizo society.
Fulfilling its pre-poll promise, the Mizo National Front (MNF) government last week unanimously passed the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill, 2019 to again ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in the northeastern state after four years. The ban comes into force from Monday.
Beichhua said the State Government stands to lose Rs 70 crore annually in revenues following the decision. “But the loss of revenue is much less than the loss of human life and suffering. Larger societal benefit is more vital,” Beichhua told media.
The Minister said that the MNF government had decided to ban production, import, sale and consumption of liquor for the common people, except defence personnel and those with medical needs.
“Separate licences will be issued to defence personnel who can consume liquor. People under treatment would be allowed to drink only if it is prescribed by a doctor,” Beichhua said.
However, the State Government is yet to decide on whether or not to allow domestic and foreign tourists to drink inside the State.
Vendors say that the liquor ban has resulted in piling stocks as purchases had been made till the end of the current fiscal year (2018-19) and a loss of Rs four lakh per day.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has asked the Mizoram Government not to notify the Liquor Prohibition Act till the Lok Sabha elections are officially over on May 27.
Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra said the Commission’s request had been communicated to the state Excise and Narcotics Department.
Beichhua said the State Government has sought some clarification from the Election Commission in the matter and will take a final call after getting its reply.