Imphal: In a major Cabinet decision, the N Biren Singh-led BJP government Tuesday announced lifting of the prohibition of selling and buying of foreign liquor in the state.
The decision will allow selling of foreign-made liquors in some select hotels and other tourist centres.
It may be noted that Manipur was declared as a dry state in 1991 after enacting Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act, 1991. However, the restriction was lifted from hill districts including Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe inhabited areas.
Speaking to media persons, State’s horticulture and soil conservation minister, Letpao Haokip, said that the main decision of lifting the prohibition of selling liquor is to control illegal liquor sales and moreover to timely check health problems among the masses.
Citing the example of Mizoram, a Christian state, which recently allowed liquor sales, the Minister said that despite being a dry state, almost 90 per cent male populations in Manipur consume liquor, which sometimes becomes a major health issue. This Cabinet decision will enable people to get quality foreign liquor, he reasoned.
Letpao also informed that when the team of a cabinet sub committee visited Goa a few days back it was found that the percentage of alcohol in the locally produced liquor was little higher (1.9 per cent approx) than the average 4o per cent in foreign liquors. This can be made as good as Vodka, said the Minister, adding that these locally produced brews will not be allowed to be sold in the state.
Allowing sale of foreign liquor will generate about Rs 600 crore annually, he contended.
The sale of liquor will be confined only at some specific locations like district headquarters, tourists’ spots, security camps, hotels with at least 20 bedded lodging facilities, he added.
Meanwhile, the Manipur government also decided to maintain ‘Status Quo’ of the present Disturb Area Status in the state.