Manipur gears up to legalise country liquor

Imphal: Select Committee of Manipur government on Wednesday inspected country liquor producing units at Sekmai and Phayeng in connection with the state government’s plan to legalise production and marketing of country-made liquor.

The Select Committee of the government led by its chairman Y. Joykumar, who is also deputy chief minister of Manipur, visited country liquor producing units in Imphal West district.

“The team inspected the liquor manufacturing units to see how the liquor is made and to check if the local liquors are hygienic and not harmful to form an opinion,” Joykumar said while interacting with media persons.

The Select Committee will hold a discussion on Thursday to discuss on the implementation of Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018, Joykumar said while seeking opinions on the Bill.

On January 22, the state assembly had stated that the Select Committee is examining the Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 which proposes to enable manufacture of alcoholic liquor strictly for sale outside the state.

Indigenous country liquor forms a part of custom and at the same time serves as a source of income for the local people. Every household in Sekmai and Phayeng has their own distillery. Foreign liquors are being imported and consumed in the state. Discussion will be done on how to promote Manipur country liquors for sale outside the state and to tap the natural skill of the local people, the chairman said.

Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) on Saturday urged the state government not to take any step to legalise Manipur liquor.

CADA said Manipur began to suffer the brunt of alcohol abuse since its consumption among the people increased since the 1970s. Amid many organisations including Meira Paibis’ movement against alcohol to save future generation, the Government had declared Manipur a dry State by enacting “The Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act 1991”. Successive governments have failed to effectively enforce the Act till today and alcohol is available widespread in Manipur despite it being a dry state.

It said the BJP-led government should recall the public outrage that erupted when it discussed legalisation of alcohol on the Assembly floor earlier. The Government should not only consider the revenue it will get from legalising alcohol but also study the harmful impact it would have on the society. The Government should not invite wrath of the people by bringing up such a proposal to legalise alcohol again, it added.

Manipur’s country liquor locally known as Yoo has three popular brands named according to the places where the product is produced. The Yoo of Phayeng, Sekmai and Andro are popular brands and available in different parts of the state. The brands have different qualities too –hard and soft. Chakpa Kalei is a brand name of a traditional liquor produced at Phayeng,.

All Manipur Women’s Social Reformation and Development Samaj today wrote to the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat to Reject the Bill. It warns not to invite people to rise up against the Bill.

It said the consumption of liquor has created killing and other chaos, like chaos in family, in the state.

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