Aizawl: Liquor vendors in Mizoram have demanded the state government to provide additional time to dispose of their stock, sources said on Sunday.
Altogether, there were 43 liquor shops run by private owners in the state, of which 24 were in Aizawl district, six in Kolasib district, four each in Lunglei and Serchhip districts, three in Champhai and two in Mamit district, respectively.
Besides, there are three bonded warehouses, two bars and one micro brewery in Aizawl.
All the wine shops, warehouses, bars and brewery across the state were closed from April 1 as their licences under ‘The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Act, 2014’ had expired on March 31.
The state government had earlier instructed all vendors to dispose their stock on or before March 31, as prohibition law was likely to be enforced from April 1. The proposed prohibition, however, is put on hold till election process is over on May 27.
Sources said that some liquor vendors faced inconvenience as they could not dispose their sale within a stipulated time.
Francis Sailo, a liquor vendor said some liquor vendors, especially those who rented private stores (houses), approached the high court recently, seeking additional time from the state government to dispose of their stock. He said that the vendors could not dispose of their stock within a prescribed time due to long spell of dry days.
The Mizo National Front (MNF) headed by chief minister Zoramthanga, which vowed total prohibition on sales of alcohol during the state assembly elections in November last year, had on March 20 passed ‘The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill, 2019’ that sought to prohibit import, export, transport, manufacture, possession, sale and consumption of alcohol in the state.
State governor Jagdish Mukhi had given his nod to the bill.
State excise and narcotics minister Dr K Beichhuah had said that the prohibition law will be notified once elections are over.
For about 18 years, Mizoram had been a ‘dry state’ after ‘The Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995’ came into effect in 1997. The prohibition law introduced and implemented by Lal Thanhawla led Congress government in the hope of retaining power could not help the grand old party win the next assembly polls in 1998.
The prohibition law, however, was supported by the MNF, that rule the state for two consecutive terms between 1998 and 2008.
Even after the Congress came back to power in November 2008, the prohibition law was still in effect, which helped the party swept the next election to a 40-member assembly in 2013 with a thumping victory and the party’s tally had rose from 32 to 34.
In 2014, the Congress government thought different idea and decided to sell alcohol with some restriction and putting a limit on the quantity of alcohol a consumer can take under strict law.
Ultimately, the state legislature legislated “The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Act, 2014 despite opposition from the churches and civil societies.
The MLPC Act came into effect in January 2015 and the first wine shop was opened in the state in March that year.