The Mizoram Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a Bill to implement total prohibition, a legislation promised by the Mizo National Front (MNF) government when it came to power last year.
“No person, without license or permit issued under the provisions of this Act or Rules made thereunder, shall- 1(a) import, export, transport liquor; (b) possess, sell or or buy liquor; (c) manufacture liquor; (d) possess or use or keep for use any material, utensil, implements, apparatus, chemical or compounds whatsoever for manufacture of liquor; and (e) contract any brewery, distillery, winery, bottling plant or warehouse, or as such place (2) consume liquor,” reads The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill, 2019.
Violation of the provisions could lead to imprisonment upto five years and a maximum fine of Rs 1 lakh. Chief Minister Zoramthanga said, “Yes, the Bill was passed today and Mizoram will soon become a dry state. The Bill now needs to be approved by the Governor. Indian Army and the paramilitary forces will be exempted from the prohibition.”
Earlier this month, the state government had passed an order, saying that owners of liquor warehouses, vendors and those holding liquor licences in clubs, government lodgings or hotels should “dispose of all their stocks before March 31”.
The MNF had made prohibition a poll plank, highlighting the problems due to easy access to alcohol. Soon after winning the elections, Zoramthanga had told the press that implementing total prohibition was on top of his agenda.
The Congress government had ended 18 years of total prohibition in the state by replacing the Mizoram Liquor (Total Prohibition) Act, 1995 with the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014, against the wishes of influential NGOs and the Church.