Aizawl: Mizoram excise and narcotics minister Dr K Beichhua on Monday reiterated that the government would legislate a stringent prohibition law to ban sales of alcohol.
“A new law will be legislated in the first assembly session for complete banning of sales of alcohol in the state,” the minister said while addressing a party meeting at Mizo National Front (MNF) office here on Monday.
The next session of the state assembly will be budget session, which will be held in March and this will be the first full-fledged session after the MNF headed by chief minister Zoramthanga assumed power after 10 years of political wilderness on December 15 trouncing the Congress in the November 28 polls.
Beichhua said that the government has been drafting a prohibition law which will be introduced and passed in the upcoming budget session.
He said that the MNF government led by chief minister Zoramthanga soon after assuming power declared prolonged “dry days” as a prelude to prohibition.
The dry days, however have to be stayed due to Gauhati High Court order which allowed re-opening of wine shop following petitions filed by liquor vendors and bonded warehouse owners, he said.
The minister said that the state government is committed to its pre-poll promises of bringing back total prohibition on sales of alcohol.
He said that the state excise department received fullest support of home department, civil societies and churches in combating drugs and alcohol.
He added the state government is taking effort to strengthen excise department which is running with inadequate man power of about 300.
The MNF as well as other non-Congress parties were vowing for prohibition before the state assembly polls in November last year.
The Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995 which impose complete ban on sales of alcohol was introduced by Lal Thanhawla-led Congress government and came into force for about 17 years between 1997 and 2015.
The previous MNF government which was in power between December 1998 and December 2008 had abided by the prohibition law.
When Congress came back to power in 2008 and 2013 assembly polls it conceived a new idea of introducing new liquor bill in the hope of gaining revenue.
Subsequently the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Bill, 2014 was enacted in the state legislature amid strong opposition from opposition bench, churches and civil societies.
The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Act, 2014, which allow opening of wine shop came into force in January 2015 and the first wine shop was opened in the state in March that year .
Beichhua, who also holds the portfolio of social welfare department said that the government is planning to convert PISGAH reformatory centre at Thingsulthliah village in Aizawl district into de-addiction centre.
He said that the state government is giving utmost concern to people, who have been affected by drugs.