Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor
The Manipur State cabinet has on Tuesday to lift the prohibition on the sale and brewing of liquor in some specific areas which include district headquarters, tourists spots, security camps, and hotels having at least 20 bedded lodging facilities in a bid to boost state’s revenue and to tackle the health issues caused by consuming unregulated liquor.
The cabinet meeting held at Chief Minister’s secretariat from 10.30 AM till 12 AM on Tuesday with Chief Minister N Biren discussed as many as 31 agendas.
Highlighting some of the key decisions adopted by the cabinet, Tribal Affairs and Hills development Minister Letpao Haokip while briefing the media conveyed that the cabinet decided to regulate the selling and brewing of liquor in the state with consumption of unregulated liquor going out of hand band becoming the main cause leading to health issues like liver cirrhosis and kidney failure cases among the people in the state.
Notably, the then state government enacted Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act in 1991. The act, amended in 2002, has already regulated the sales of liquor. According to the cabinet decision, mass selling of liquor and carrying of liquor in other places without a proper receipt will not be allowed and the sale of liquor will be confined only to some specific areas including district headquarters, tourists spots, security camps, and hotels having at least 20 bedded lodging facilities.
Minister Letpao Haokip said while exuding confidence that the state can earn a minimum revenue of Rs 600 Crore annually if the prohibition on the sale and brewing of liquor is lifted. In the early 1980s, Manipur used to earn annual revenue amounting to around Rs 40 crore from the 65 foreign liquor shops and three bonded warehouses.
Informing that the normal range of alcohol present in liquor should be below 40 percent, he said that the local liquor of Sekmai tested during the recent visit of MLAs to Goa was found to contain 41.9 percent of alcohol. According to experts, the Sekmai local liquor will be much better than Vodka if it is regulated, he maintained.
The Cabinet’s decision on lifting prohibition does not mainly focus on earning exorbitant revenue but was necessitated in view of the public health issues caused by the consumption of unregulated liquor in the State. The Government is also mulling to export of the local liquor of Sekmai, Andro, and others brewed in a systematic manner, he said.
Reiterating that regulating liquor will also help save the youths from the drug menace, the Minister said that Mizoram, despite being a Christian-dominated State, regulated liquor a few years back as a step to tackle the drug menace. The Minister also sought support from the people for the government’s decision in view of the public health issues.
Tuesday’s cabinet also reviewed the extension of the declaration of the “disturbed area” status in the state. Despite the Army and Intelligence Bureau proposing to impose disturbed area status in the entire State, the cabinet decided to maintain the status quo for a period of one year, the minister divulged.
The Cabinet gave one-year relaxation for the promotion of MCS, MPS, and MFS officers from five years as per the rule in view of the urgent need for SDOs, and SDCs in every sub-division during the upcoming ADC election.
The Cabinet also decided to immediately suspend the employees if they launch a bandh and strike against the government. The cabinet had also decided to request the Governor to prorogue the recently concluded Monsoon Assembly session which was adjourned sine die and had also approved the new Manipur Industrial and Investment Policy, he stated.
On the water rate of the Water Resource Department, Letpao said that the cabinet decided to increase the water rate for paddy fields to Rs. 606 from Rs. 150 per annum, and the water rate at vegetation fields is fixed at Rs. 200 per annum.
On the transportation of quarry sands, the Minister informed that the Department of Textile, Industries, and Commerce will issue the license of the quarry area while the Forest department will issue the transit permit.