Imphal: Chief minister N Biren Singh stated that the Cabinet took the recent decision on lifting the prohibition on the sale and consumption of liquor from the state after consulting various stakeholders over the last two years.
The chief minister was speaking at the launch programme of the 1st Batch Trainees of the State Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (SIHM), Manipur.
The state cabinet decided to partially lift the prohibition on alcohol in the state, considering the health issues arises caused by the consumption of unregulated alcohol and to boost the state’s revenue.
Elaborating on the matter, CM Biren Singh said that the cabinet decision was taken after holding a thorough discussion and taking recommendations from committees formed earlier in this regard.
“This is not a spontaneous decision. It was decided after consulting various stakeholders in the last two years. The same was also discussed in the previous sessions of the state assembly,” Singh said.
However, there would be certain regulations on the sale of liquor regarding the place of sale, age regulation etc, the chief minister said.
He also mentioned that some communities have been producing local liquor as part of their custom and as such the government hadn’t been able to ban such production.
Manipur was declared a dry state after the enacting of the Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act, 1991. However, an exemption was granted to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities to brew local liquor for traditional purposes.
Now, with the lifting of the prohibition on alcohol and legalising of sale, consumption and brewing of liquor in some specific locations, the state government is also planning to export locally-brewed alcohol.
According to the chief minister, a team from outside the state had been engaged to check the process of the production in such places and to bring up to a certain level of standard, so that the liquors could be exported outside the state.
Earlier, a three-member team of the state cabinet sub-committee had recently visited Goa to study scientific liquor brewing for export.
According to CM Biren Singh, the state government is also planning to establish a beer factory in the state using locally produced raw ingredients like pineapple and ginger.
People from outside the state are becoming fond of our horticulture products, our local brews could be exported outside. This would also encourage those people who had earlier carried poppy plantations to replace it with alternative crops like pineapple and ginger, said the chief minister.
Meanwhile, some civil society organisations, including mothers of the state and the Coalition against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA), have come down heavily on the government after the Cabinet decided to legalise sale, consumption and brewing in some specific locations in the state.
According to CADA secretary general Geetchandra Mangang, the state took the ‘hasty decision’ without consultation with those stakeholders who have been launching the movement against the consumption of alcohol.
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