A public notice mentioned that opinion and views on the state government’s decision for lifting the prohibition from the state of Manipur are invited from all Civil Society organisations, NGOs and individuals.
In October this year Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh said that the government will come up with a white paper on liquor legalisation in the state. The state cabinet recently has decided to partially lift the three-decade old prohibition on liquor consumption.
This has triggered opposition from various groups in the state. Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) and women groups are seeking modification of the cabinet decision.
The government is expected to table a Liquor Prohibition Amendment bill to spell out its liquor policy of the state very soon.
Singh assured that the decision will be taken only after consultation with the stakeholders.
As per the State Cabinet decision, the sale of liquor will be confined to some specific locations, including district headquarters, tourist spots, security camps and hotels, having at least 20 bedded lodging facilities.
Manipur became a dry state in 1991 following pressure from different groups. In the 1980’s Women vigilantes were posted in the street to prevent men from alcoholism and substance abuse.
Even militant outfits have banned sale and consumption of liquor. The RK Ranbir Singh government passed the Liquor Prohibition Act of 1991 and officially declared Manipur a “dry state” with the exemption granted to Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) communities to brew liquor for traditional purposes.
Liquor was sold in the grey market and foreign liquor was smuggled into Manipur from Myanmar.
In 2002, the then Congress chief minister, Okram Ibobi Singh lifted prohibition in the five hill districts of Manipur, namely, Chandel, Churachandpur, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul districts.
In the run up to assembly polls this year, Singh proposed allowing Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) shops in the state if the BJP returned to power, Congress slammed BJP.
In a rally in Imphal East, N Biren Singh had said the state government would introduce IMFL shops if the BJP returns to power.
In August last year the Select Committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly had given its approval to The Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act, 1991 (2nd Amendment).The bill could not make much headway following opposition from CADA.