Nearly 24 years after prohibition was imposed in Manipur, the state, for the first time, is planning to lift the ban on the manufacture and sale of liquor, with Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh tabling a proposal for the same in the Assembly.
Speaking in the Assembly, the Chief Minister said that most states in the country, with the exception of Nagaland and Manipur, lifted the ban on selling Indian-made Foreign Liquor. After lifting the ban, all states have experienced a marked increase in revenue generation, he said. The CM pointed out that poor quality liquor produced in Khatkhatti, Assam was being sold surreptitiously in Manipur, cheating the state of much-needed revenue.
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The CM’s proposal comes exactly a year after neighbouring Mizoram lifted its ban on sale of liquor in July 2014.
“Tamil Nadu generates nearly Rs 25 crore annually from excise duty alone and the state is able to provide rice free of cost to all BPL families. Manipur is unable to implement the National Food Security Act. Because of financial constraints, we are unable to provide rice to BPL families at Rs 3 per kg,’’ said the chief minister. Ibobi added that the traditional rice wine and rice beer, locally produced in Manipur, has a great demand outside the state and can be exported to bring additional income.
Singh has appealed to NGOs and civil society organisations to consider lifting the ban on manufacture and sale of liquor so that the state can generate income.
The ban was imposed in 1991 when R K Ranbir Singh was the chief minister. It was imposed after widespread agitations by civil rights groups, especially Manipur’s women activists or Meira Paibis.