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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Mizoram to have dry Christmas, New Year as MNF takes steps toward imposing total prohibition

The new Mizo National Front, which had made reimposing prohibition a poll promise, has decided to stop the sale of liquor by government agencies, and bring a legislation to stop sale by private players.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2018 17:34 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
The new  MNF government in Mizoram under chief minister Zoramthanga has begun taking steps to fulfill its poll promise of reimposing prohibition in the northeastern state  (File Photo)
The new MNF government in Mizoram under chief minister Zoramthanga has begun taking steps to fulfill its poll promise of reimposing prohibition in the northeastern state (File Photo) (PTI)
         

Mizoram is set for a dry Christmas and New Year with the new Mizo National Front government’s decision to designate December 21 to January 14 as dry days as it looks set to bring back prohibition. Imposing total prohibition in the Christian majority state was one of the poll promises of the Zoramthanga-led MNF which stormed back to power after 10 years in November 28 assembly polls.

“We have decided to immediately stop sale of alcohol by government agencies. As for the private players, it is not possible immediately and we need legislation that will take some time. So as an interim measure we have decided that December 21 to January 14 will be dry days,” chief minister Zoramthanga told Hindustan Times after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“During this period of dry days, we hope to complete formalities and bring in legislation. If we are able to bring it, then the problem will be solved. If we cannot, than the dry days could continue,” he said.

“MNF always stood for prohibition. It is the Congress which lifted it the last four years,” he said.

Back in 1997, the Congress government with Lal Thanhawla at the helm brought in prohibition by enacting the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act. However, in 2014, the Congress government headed by Lal Thanhawla passed the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act to regulate the sale of alcohol.

The Congress also said it would moved towards prohibition had it come to power.

“We would have done the same thing. The Church is against sale of liquor,” said Congress spokesperson Lallianchhunga.

Lal Thanhawla had earlier told Hindustan Times that, “wherever prohibition is imposed, it fails miserably. In Mizoram also we tried, but we failed… I don’t want liquor should be overflowing in Mizoram, I simply want Mizo community should not be disturbed or suffer because of liquor.”

“Earlier, at the behest of the church I tried 17 long years (of prohibition), but liquor was overflowing,” he had said.

According to reports, alcohol sales brought in around Rs 200 crore as revenues for the state government between 2015 and 2018.