The Commissioner of Excise, Manipur on Friday notified the general public, inviting opinion and views on the formulation of a ‘White Paper on lifting prohibition of liquor in Manipur.’
A public notice signed by member secretary Expert Committee on formulation of the ‘White Paper on lifting prohibition of liquor in Manipur’ Bedajit Th mentioned that opinion and views on the state government’s decision for lifting the prohibition from the state of Manipur are invited from all CSOs, NGOs and individuals.
The views are to be submitted in writing through post or by hand to the commissioner, Excise cum chairperson, Expert committee on formulation of the ‘White Paper on lifting prohibition of liquor in Manipur’, Lamphelpat, Imphal – 785004 within seven days from the date of publication of the notice, it stated.
On September 20, the state cabinet had decided on partial lifting of liquor prohibition from the state. However, several civil bodies including Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse (CADA), Nupi Samaj and other women civil bodies had been intensifying the movement against the state cabinet’s decision.
At several platforms, some of the ministers and MLAs including Chief Minister N Biren Singh had been expressing that the state cabinet’s decision on partial lifting of liquor prohibition was taken by keeping in consideration of the public health to boost the state’s economy.
Amid a series of movements launched by CADA and Nupi Samaj, with the support of local bodies, the state government had issued a draft copy on Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy in October.
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The draft copy entitled ‘DRAFT Manipur Liquor Prohibition Policy’ mentioned that the aims and objectives of the Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy are to work towards eradication of distillation, transportation, possession, consumption and sale of illicit liquor.
It aimed to restrict the availability of local liquor as well as IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor)/ FMFL (Foreign Made Foreign Liquor).
Its goal was to reduce the impact of illicit and adulterated liquor on health; reducing the demand of intoxicating drinks; address the menace of illegal drugs; generating employment moreover generating revenue of the state; and address the problem of the black market in liquor on account of ‘prohibition’.
The draft policy also mentioned that restriction on availability of local liquor as well as IMFL will remain the same. Elaborating on the restriction, it stated that no sale of IMFL/FMFL/Country liquor except at the outlets licensed by the Government and managed by a Government agency/ license holder.
License for sale/serving of IMFL/ FMFL/ Country liquor shall be at specified hotels and tourist spots having minimum facility (at least 20 rooms) and hygienic conditions.
Manipur was declared a ‘Dry State’ after the passing of ‘The Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act, 1991’. However, the Act is exempted for members of the Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) communities to brew distilled indigenous country liquor for traditional purpose only.
Despite Manipur being declared a ‘Dry State’, most of the brands of Indian made Foreign Liquor (IMFL); Distilled Indigenous Country Liquor (DIC); beers; Foreign Made Foreign Liquors (FMFL) and other alcohol content drinks are abundantly available at most of the streets, including in city area.
In the past few years, selling of alcohol has been reportedly increasing despite Manipur police, local bodies and excise personnel intensifying the drive against selling of alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are also available abundantly at higher rates reportedly at many rooftop restaurants.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Biren expressed that the government shall remain firm on its stand.