Mizoram House passes Bill, to go dry from April 1

Mizoram is going to be a dry state, once again, from April 1 this year. The Mizoram Legislative Assembly has passed the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition Bill 2019, which seeks to ban consumption, manufacture and sale of liquor for general public.

Prohibition was one of the major poll promises of the Mizo National Front-led government that came to power in the state, replacing the Congress as ruling party last year, by winning 26 seats in the 40-member House.

State Excise and Narcotics Minister K. Beichhua tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday the Bill, which was passed unanimously.

“Lifting the ban on liquor in Mizoram has had a severe impact on the Mizo society. It led to untimely death of people in road accidents and increase in alcohol intake among the youth,” said the Minister while tabling the Bill.

Legislator from the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Vanlalthlana, referred to the recent liquor ban in Bihar and said the move had led to reduction in crime in that state. “While crime against women was reduced to 13 per cent after the liquor ban in Bihar, incidents of rape declined too,” Vanlalthlana said while supporting the Bill.

In the last year’s Mizoram Assembly polls, while the MNF promised a total ban, the Congress opposed it. The BJP on the other hand was for partial ban with locally-produced liquor to be allowed. The Church bodies, which play a major role in the elections in Mizoram, favoured a complete ban.

Mizoram was a dry state between 1997 and 2015, when the then Congress government lifted the ban. Following the lifting of ban, liquor shops thrived in the Christian-majority state. The Congress justified the move by stating that it generated revenue and reduced spurious liquor related deaths.

Soon after coming to power, the MNF government had extended the dry days. Following the decision, the government banned sale of alcohol in government-owned shops and shut nine such shops.