Liquor dealers in Mizoram have decided to take the Mizoram government to the court for heavy losses owing to extended period of dry day in the state
Aizawl, January 23, 2019
The Aizawl Bench of the Gauhati High Court has rescheduled the case against the extension of dry days in Mizoram for January 29th.
It may be recalled that on January 17th, the Mizoram Liquor Dealers’ Association and owners of three bonded warehouses in the state had filed lawsuits against the Mizo National Front (MNF) government’s decision to extend the dry days till March 10th.
Court seeks documents
The court sought more documents from the petitioner, as per reports. The owners of the liquor outlets and bonded warehouses slammed the Mizoram government ruling party and have termed the extension of the dry days as “whimsical”.
The petitioner stated that as there was no indication that the prohibition would be reintroduced, the dealers placed orders till March and incurred huge losses.
Zoramthanga’s election promise
After sweeping the Assembly elections last year, the Mizo National Front’s chief minister Zoramthanga said that as promised by their party, they would impose a total prohibition on liquor in the state.
It may be mentioned that liquor ban was imposed in the state by the then Congress government in 1997 under the Mizoram Liquor (Total Prohibition) Act in 1997. It was lifted in 2015, when Lal Thanhawla was the Chief Minister, after enforcing the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014.
It may be mentioned that in the run-up to the polls, consumption of liquor was a major political issue among the parties in the state. While the Congress was against total prohibition, the MNF wanted a complete ban.
Earlier, as a prelude to bringing legislation to ban liquor, the Mizo National Front government declared dry day from December 21, 2018 to January 14, 2019. The people of Mizoram celebrated dry Christmas and New Year.
The Mizoram government later issued an ordered to extend the dry day from January 15th to March 10th.
“Imposing prohibition would be on top of his government’s agenda,” Zoramthanga had said after winning 26 seats in the 40 Assembly constituencies.
Closure of liquor shops
After taking to office, former insurgent and two-time chief minister Zoramthanga ordered the closure of three state-run corporations and Mizoram Police battalions. Reiterating his election promise, the talkative and diminutive Zoramthanga had said that privately-run around 50 liquor shops and bars would be closed down after a new legislation is passed. While in the opposing, Zoramthanga always lambasted the ruling government and claimed that liquor was killing the state’s youth.
It may be mentioned that the first wine shop was opened in Mizoram on March 16, 2015.
Church hails Mizoram Chief Minister
In a Christian-majority Mizoram, Zoramthanga’s government received thumbs up from the influential Church and civil society organisations for its move to bring back prohibition.
Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, which is a conglomerate of 14 major churches, welcomed the decision of the MNF-led government for closing all government-run liquor shops.
Young Mizo Association, which is headed by Vanlalruata, also hailed the government.