Brewing The ‘Booze’ Agenda In Manipur Elections 2022

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The neighbouring state of Manipur was declared as dry state on 1991 after enacting the Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act
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Brewing The 'Booze' Agenda In Manipur Elections 2022
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Brewing The ‘Booze’ Agenda In Manipur Elections 2022

Guwahati: It is election time in Manipur and booze has once again taken centre stage. Successive governments in the state though had tried to lift the prevailing ban on liquor shops, sale of liquor mainly Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) was yet to be made regularized.

The neighbouring state of Manipur was declared as dry state on 1991 after enacting the Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act, 1991.

The ban was lifted in 2002, in five hill districts of Manipur after making amending to the act. Later in 2015, the Congress government led by Okram Ibobi though had attempted to lift liquor prohibition from the state, the proposed move failed to see the light of the day.

But even in 2018 also when the incumbent BJP government led by N Biren Singh brought the Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 to lift ban on liquor in the state, opposition continued from the civil society.

The implementation of the Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act 1991 and the declaration of Manipur as ‘Dry State’ were done due to the ‘Nisha Bandh’ movement initiated by womenfolk of Manipur. As per the Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA), no government worked to strengthen the Act.

In Manipur ‘Nisha Bandhi’ came into existence in the 70s in view of the increasing number of crimes against women and children in the state resulting in substance abuse and a large number of youths becoming drug addicts, it added.

However, with election fever gripping the state, the issue of lifting the ban on liquor in the state has once again making noise. The Manipur chief minister Singh has once again come under fire for a recent controversial statement in which he stated that if the BJP retained power once again, the state government will reopen outlets selling Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL).

Backing his promise, he said that several people were dying as a result of using deadly country liquor and the state administration would reopen IMFL outlets in order to ‘save’ the people.

Earlier, a report mentioned in ‘Magnitude of Substance Use in India’ released by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India placed Manipur in 8th position in liquor consumption in the country.

Now, with polling just around the corner, it will be interesting to see, how the people of the state will decide the fate of liquor and the incumbent BJP government.

Read More : Manipur sees violence among supporters of opposing parties

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