Public opinions sought on lifting Liquor Prohibition in Manipur

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Imphal: The Commissioner of Excise, Manipur has issued a Public Notice on Friday inviting opinions and views on the state government’s decision for lifting the Prohibition on Liquor from the state of Manipur.

The opinions and views are invited, ‘if any’, from all civil society organisations, NGOs and individual in writing to be submitted (through post/by hand) to the office of the Commissioner, Excise cum chairperson, Expert Committee on formulation of the “White Paper on lifting prohibition of liquor in Manipur” Lamphelpat, Imphal – 795004 within days from the date of publication of the notification.

Manipur state Cabinet’s decision to partially legalise liquor production, consumption and sale in the state by lifting the Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act 1991 has been opposed from different quarters like the Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse and women bodies besides support from indigenous liquor producing sections.

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The Cabinet decision was taken, on September 20, with the aim to raise state’s revenue check unregulated and adulterated liquor.

Even though Manipur became a Dry State, liquor has been available abundantly in the state. Some organizations are of the view that undisturbed liquor sale increases at mushrooming shops and at roof top restaurants in Imphal area of dry state Manipur.

According to the National Family Health Survey-5 in 2021, 47.9 percent of the population aged above 15 years consumes liquor despite the dry-state tag.

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Of the male population, 42.2 percent in the urban areas have the habit of liquor consumption and 52.1 percent male population above 15 years consume liquor in the dry state Manipur.

Amid the mixture of responses from the public, the state government issued Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy in October first week.

The Draft Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy stated the government’s 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 Indian Made Foreign Liquor and 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’.

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Chief minister N. Biren Singh had earlier expressed 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.

The government’s decision remained opposed by different groups.

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