TODAY -

National seminar studies export potential of liquor
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 26 2015: The possibility of exporting locally brewed liquor was sounded during a two-day National seminar on "Foods and beverages of Manipur : Cultural Heritage, Entrepreneurship and Contemporary Challenges" today at Manipur University centenary hall.

The seminar is being jointly organised by the Government of Manipur and Manipur University.

Chief Minister O Ibobi, MU VC Prof H Nandakumar, Commerce and Industries Minister Govindas Konthoujam, MLA Y Surchandra, State Government Consultant Dr RK Nimai and Managing Director of Tokyo based Bena Enterprises Pvt Ltd Watnabe Teruaki attended the opening session as presidium members.

Khullakpas of Andro, Phayeng and Awang Sekmai, academicians, scholars and faculty members of MU were also present at the seminar.

Speaking at the opening session, O Ibobi exuded confidence that the seminar would deliberate minutely and put forward certain concrete recommendations on sustainable exploitation of natural resources and economic upliftment of Manipur.



Chief Minister O Ibobi inspecting the brewing of local liquor
Chief Minister O Ibobi inspecting the brewing of local liquor :: Pix - DIPR


The fundamental objective of any democratic Nation is establishment of a welfare State.

However, a welfare State remains a far-fetched dream in Manipur on account of myriad delicate and sensitive issues and the volatile law and order situation which are compounded by frequent bandhs and blockades.

Manipur must be self-reliant politically and economically, Ibobi stated.

He went on to ask, "How long should we wait for funds and grants doled out by the Government of India for our survival and progress?" .

The State has been spending around Rs 400 crore annually in paying salaries to its employees.

At the same time, structural arrangements are being made to adopt a new pattern of funding development projects where all projects would be funded 50 per cent by the Centre and the remaining 50 per cent by the States.

Given all these developments, there is a growing to exploit the State's natural resources in sustainable and productive manner so as to make the State self-reliant in every aspect.

Stating that Tamil Nadu earns around Rs 1300 crore annually from excise duties alone, Ibobi maintained that liqour brewed in Manipur has export potential provided standard procedures of brewing and packaging are followed.

All liquor brewed in Manipur and meant for export should have distinct labels "Not for sale in Manipur" so that the health of Manipuri people is not compromised in any endeavour to earn extra revenue.

But no concrete decision has been adopted in this regard, Ibobi continued.

The Chief Minister also opened a traditional food court.

Govindas Konthoujam pointed that development and progress are simply impossible without trade and commerce.

Some of the State's unique fabrics namely Wangkhei Phi, Moirang Phi and Shaphi-Lanphi were given GI registration in 2013.Six other unique garments are also in the process of obtaining GI tags.

"Likewise our unique food products like Chakhao Poireiton, Soibum, Hawaijar and Ngari can be exported after they are processed and packaged using scientific and hygienic methods", Govind asserted.

He informed that the State Government's approval is being awaited for exporting liquor brewed at Andro, Phayeng and Sekmai.

The Government is well aware of the concerns raised by civil society organisations and the general public.

Nonetheless, one litre of liquor whose distillation or production cost is just Rs 40-43 can be sold at US $10 (Rs 650) provided it is bottled properly.

The State can earn Rs 8000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore from liquor trade in a year, he claimed.

There would be five technical session on five topics during the two-day seminar and the seminal would culminate with a panel discussion tomorrow.


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