Manipur cabinet on Tuesday decided to partially lift the prohibition on liquor in the northeastern state considering the alarming health issues arising out of the consumption of unregulated liquor.
The cabinet meeting was held at the chief minister’s secretariat in Imphal with the CM Nongthombam Biren Singh in attendance.
Tribal affairs and hills minister Letpao Haokip in the council of ministers, said, “The move of the government is to prevent serious health issues such as liver and kidney diseases after the consumption of unregulated products.”
Stressing on the fact that there are many people in the state suffering from liver and kidney diseases after consuming unregulated liquor, Letpao informed that prohibition will be lifted only at district headquarters, tourist areas and hotels with not less than 20 (bed) rooms.
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At the same time, local liquor manufactured at Sekmai in Imphal west district and Andro in Imphal east district will be checked and regulated in consultation with experts from Ireland and Scotland, he added.
He added that the state is expecting generation of around ₹600 as revenue.
He further informed that a three-member team of the state cabinet sub-committee recently visited Goa to study the introduction of feni in the coastal state.
Manipur was declared a dry state in 1991 after enacting Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act, 1991.
With the enactment of the Act, Manipur officially became a dry state, with an exemption granted to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities to brew liquor for traditional purposes.
The state excise department was given the task to regulate and implement the prohibition.
However, despite the crackdowns by the excise department and civil society groups, alcohol continued to be available in the black market.
In August this year, Manipur CM informed the state assembly that following the introduction of the Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 on the assembly floor during 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly session, the state government has been discussing legalisation of liquor in the state.
Earlier, the then Congress-led government had even suggested the sale of local liquor produced in Manipur outside the state.