IMPHAL: In a move aimed at both bolstering state revenue and addressing health concerns, the Manipur cabinet has given its nod to legalisation of liquor-related activities in the state.
The decision, taken during a meeting at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on the evening of December 4, encompasses the production, manufacture, possession, import, export, transport, purchase, sale, and consumption of liquor in the state.
The formal announcement of this groundbreaking decision is slated to be conveyed through a gazette notification scheduled for issuance later in the month.
The move follows a partial lift on the ban imposed in September 2022, marking the second instance of the state cabinet deliberating on the contentious issue of legalising liquor.
During the meeting, the Manipur Excise (Amendment) Rules 2023 were also approved, highlighting the state’s commitment to regulate liquor production and curb the consumption of spurious liquor.
This decision comes after a detailed interaction held in April, where the cabinet engaged with members of an expert committee tasked with preparing a White Paper on the legalisation of liquor in the state.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh, in a tweet, had highlighted the committee’s findings on health hazards, domestic violence, and the negative societal impacts associated with adulterated liquor.
The prohibition of liquor in Manipur was initially enforced on April 1, 1991, by the RK Ranbir Singh government in response to a total ban imposed by the outlawed organisation People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The move gained widespread support from various civil society organizations (CSOs), including the Coalition Against Drugs & Alcohol (CADA) and All Manipur Women Social Reformation & Development Samaj (Nupi Samaj).
The recent decision is expected to stir continued discussions and debates within the state, as stakeholders grapple with the multifaceted implications of this transformative policy shift.