The state government issued the draft Manipur Liquor Regulation Policy even as protests continued over the cabinet’s decision to partially lift the prohibition from the state. Aiming to generate employment and increase the revenue of the state, the draft policy issued on Tuesday night said it was seeking to address the problem of the black market in liquor due to prohibition and the menace of illegal drugs.
The draft said the policy seeks to eradicate distillation, transportation, possession, consumption and sale of illicit liquor and restrict the availability of local liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL). It also seeks to reduce “the impact of illicit and adulterated liquor on health” as well as “the demand of intoxicating drinks”.
The draft said that manufacturing and sale of local brew or country liquor without FSSAI certification would be prohibited. It said that the manufacturing of local brew would be encouraged through co-operative societies.
The aim of the policy is to restrict availability of liquor in the state, and accordingly, liquor would not be sold or served to those under 25 years, it added.
Liquor would only be sold at outlets licensed by the government and managed by a government agency or the license holder, the draft said.
“Dry days at least once a week and on national/state holidays/ any day fixed by the government will be implemented,” it said. Manufacturing of beer and wine from locally available fruits and materials for export would be promoted, and application for GI (Geographical Indication) tag would be pursued, it said. A certain percentage of the revenue generated can be set aside for employment generation schemes, and projects for women and youths of the state, it said.
Seeking to promote awareness among the people about the harmful effects of liquor, the draft said that the government would extend support to organsiations working for such public awareness. Rehabilitation centres would also be established, it said.
The cabinet of Chief Minister N Biren Singh on September 20 decided to partially lift the ban on brewing, consumption and sale of liquor. The prohibition will be lifted from all the district headquarters, including Imphal city, tourist destinations, hotels with at least 20-bed lodging facilities and camps of security forces.
The partial lifting of prohibition would generate at least Rs 600 crore in annual revenue, the government claimed. Several women’s organisations have been protesting the government’s move with Nupi Samaj threatening to start an agitation from October 11 if the decision is not withdrawn.
The chief Minister had earlier said that the draft would be issued to seek opinion of the people and the social organisations in the state. Singh had said that his government would never do anything that would harm the public.