Manipur government issues Draft Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy amid protest

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Imphal: Manipur government has issued Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy amid protest by local bodies demanding to withdraw the state Cabinet’s decision on lifting the prohibition of liquors.

The Draft Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy states is aims and objectives to work towards eradication of distillation, transportation, possession, consumption and sale of illicit liquor; restricting the availability of local liquor as well as IMFL (Indian Made Foreign

Liquor)/ FMFL (Foreign Made Foreign Liquor); reducing the impact of illicit and adulterated liquor on health; reducing the demand of intoxicating drinks; to address the menace of illegal drugs; generating employment, and generating revenue of the state; and address the problem of the black market in liquor on account of ‘prohibition’.

The eradication of distillation, transportation, possession, consumption and sale of illicit liquor shall prohibit any manufacture and sale of local brew/ country liquor inside Manipur without FSSAI certification i.e. safety standards.

The support manufacture of local brew/ country liquor with FSSAI certification is mainly for sale outside Manipur. It will provide technical and other support for producing quality local products and it will support the marketing and export of the local brew/ country liquor outside Manipur. It will encourage manufacture of local brew/ country liquor through co-operative societies.

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The draft policy mentioned that restriction on availability of local liquor as well as IMFL will remain the same. Elaborating on the restriction it stated that no sale of IMFL/FMFL/Country liquor except at the outlets licensed by the Government and managed by a Government agency/ license holder. License for sale/serving of IMFL/ FMFL/ Country liquor shall be at specified hotels and tourist spots having minimum facility (at least 20 rooms) and hygienic conditions.

No Liquor will be sold or served to individuals/ persons below 25 years of age. Minimum distance (about 100 m) from National Highways, Hospitals, Educational Institutions and Places of worship will be ensured. It also mentioned that there will be ‘Dry days’ at least once a week and on national/ state holidays/ any day fixed by the Government will be implemented.

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The draft policy also aims to reduce the impact of illicit and adulterated liquor on health by ensuring safety standards through FSSAI certification and scientific method of manufacture. A strong enforcement mechanism with enhanced revenues – Police and Excise Department will be placed to control the situation.

By promoting awareness among the people about the harmful effects of liquor and intoxicating drinks through IEC (Information Education and Communication) activities can reduce the demand of intoxicating drinks and effect on health. It stated that support from organisations will be needed while working towards such public awareness. The draft policy also aims to establish rehabilitation centres.

Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy further stated that manufacturing of beer and wine from locally available fruits and materials including manufacturing of local brew/ country liquor mainly to export outside the state could generate employment.

While exporting the local brew GI tag will be applyed to promote local products outside the state.

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State revenue can be generated from the sale of local brew outside the state and from excise duties from IMFL/FMFL/country liquor.

It stated that a certain percentage of revenue generation (10-20 per cent) can be set apart for ‘employment generation’ schemes and projects for women and youth in the state.

Nupi Samaj had cautioned to launch intensified form of agitation instead of democratic agitation from October 11 if the state government fails to make a response on whether the state cabinet’s decision will be withdrawn or not by October 10.

Coalition Against Drug and Alcohol had also expressed earlier that no meeting will be conducted with the government until the government issued white paper regarding the liquor legalization.

Chief minister N Biren Singh recently expressed during an occasion held at the City Convention that suggestions from civil society organisations and other local bodies are welcomed while drafting the policy, and the government is firm on its decision on lifting the prohibition of liquor from Manipur.

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