Aizawl: The Mizoram assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to prohibit sale and consumption of liquor in the state.
Excise and Narcotics minister K Beichhua introduced The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill, 2019 and it was unanimously passed by the state legislature after prolonged discussion.
Beichhua said that the present government with a view to general health of the public and enforcement of law and order decided to prohibit manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol for general public.
He said that the bill, after enactment, would prohibit import, export, transport, manufacture, possession, sale and consumption of alcohol in the state.
The proposed act will extend to the whole of Mizoram except three autonomous district council namely Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC), Lai Autonomous District Council (LADC) and Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), he said.
He said that the state government will loss revenue to the tune of Rs 70 crore annually due to enactment of the liquor bill.
Beichhua alleged that The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) or MLPC Act, 2014 introduced by the erstwhile Congress government has greatly affected the Mizo society.
He said that according to the finding of MLPC study group, Mizoram witnessed a decline in social security and many people died, children became orphan and many women became widows due to opening of wine shop after implementation of MLPC Act in January 2015.
Under the proposed act, says Beichhua, any person who violates the law by selling, possessing, manufacturing, exporting and importing liquor will be punished for a term which may extend to five years with a fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
Any person, who violates the law by consuming alcohol may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to Rs 5,000.
If any person behaves in a disorderly manner under the influence of liquor, makes nuisance or drive vehicles in street or public places, he is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years and a fine upto Rs. 10,000, he said.
Imposing total prohibition on sales of alcohol was the main polls agenda of the ruling MNF before the state assembly elections held on November 28 last year. Chief minister Zoramthanga has alleged that over 5000 people died due to consumption of liquor.
There was total prohibition in the state between 1997 and January 2015 with the implementation of “The Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995,” introduced by Lal Thanhawla led Congress government.
The previous MNF governments which was in power between December 1998 and December 2008 had followed the same law. In 2014, the erstwhile Congress government legislated the MLPC bill despite stiff opposition from opposition parties, churches and civil societies and allowed opening of wine shop in the state. The first wine shop was opened in March 2015.