Mizoram has become a dry State again as the State Assembly on Wednesday passed the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition Bill 2019, prohibiting manufacture, sale and consumption of liquor for the general public.
Prohibition of liquor sales was the primary agenda of the Mizo National Front (MNF) which saw a remarkable win in the November 2018 Assembly elections securing 26 seats in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly.
The Bill was introduced by K Beichhua, excise and narcotics minister.
In his speech, Beichhua said it was necessary to introduce the Bill as the The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Bill, 2014, which was enacted in the State, resulted in breaking many homes, claiming lives of many, decreasing efficiency in work, increasing trend of drinking alcohol among the youth and it also increased the amount of HIV/AIDS cases in the State.
The Bill was passed unanimously with the opposition voicing strong support for it.
Vanlalthlana, Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) MLA gave examples of successful liquor ban saying, in Bihar, since liquor prohibition was enacted, the state has recorded lower rate (13 %) of crimes against women and the percentage of rape has also decreased.
Speaking on the ill effects of alcohol sales, ZR Thiamsanga, Champhai North MLA said in a survey with 25 prostitutes, 61% of them had told that the number of customers had increased when the ban was lifted with enactment of the MLPC Act.
However, the Congress legislature party leader Zodinsanga was absent during the session.
The prohibition is expected to result in an annual loss of revenue at Rs 70 crore approximately.
Ever since the MNF formed the government, it has been pushing towards liquor prohibition and took a move to introduce dry days after its first meeting of the Council of Ministers on December 19, 2018.
After that, the government declared December 21, 2018 to January 14, 2019 as dry days prohibiting all alcohol sales and extended the date till March 10.
However, due to a lawsuit filed by the Mizoram Liquor Vendors’ Association and three bonded warehouse owners, the Aizawl bench of the Gauhati High Court quashed the dry day declaration and permitted alcohol sales till March 31, 2019.