TODAY -

Any step to legalise alcohol will invite public wrath: CADA warns Government
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 23 2021: Manipur Government must not take any step to legalise alcohol, said Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) today.

In a statement today, CADA said Manipur began to suffer the brunt of alcohol abuse since its consumption among the people increased since the 1970s.Amid many organisations including Meira Paibis' movement against alcohol to save future generation, the Government had declared Manipur a dry State by enacting "The Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act 1991".However, successive Governments have failed to effectively enforce the Act till today and alcohol is available widespread in Manipur despite it being a dry State.

Alcohol consumption among women and children are also increasing, said CADA.

Stating that the Act needs to be amended to give it more teeth, CADA said that the BJP-led Government should remember the public outrage that erupted when it discussed legalisation of alcohol on the Assembly floor earlier.

The Government should not only consider the revenue it will get from legalising alcohol but also study the harmful impact it would have on the society.

The Government should not invite wrath of the people by bringing up such a proposal to legalise alcohol again, CADA added.

Besides the damages alcohol does to the Manipuri society, CADA mentioned that consumption of spurious liquor had killed five people and hospitalised many at Oinam Sawombungda in Imphal West in 2017 .

According to the National Family Health Survey 2019-2020 report, Manipur ranked third in alcohol consumption.

Telangana topped the chart in alcohol consumption followed by Sikkim, Manipur and Goa.

As per the report, 37.5 percent of men and 0.9 percent women in Manipur consume alcohol.

According to a 2019 report of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India on "Magnitude of Substance Use in India' Manipur ranks 8th in alcohol consumption, said CADA.

The organisation also noted that to control alcohol menace, women societies and CSOs in hill districts are also prohibiting commercialisation of alcohol in the name of customary law.

Manipur has about 1.95 lakh hectares of arable land and it yields about 3,98,447 metric tonnes of rice a year which doesn't meet the demand.

To supplement the need, the State imports about 1,53,806 metric tonnes of rice (Super Fine).

Amid this the "Government's plan" to grow barley to brew alcohol is unfortunate, said CADA adding that growing barley for producing alcohol would hit rice production.

Instead of discussing ways to produce alcohol which would affect the society and youths, the Government should consider other viable options to generate revenue.

Manipur is a biodiversity hotspot with a vast number of herbs and medicinal plants.

There are more than 1000 medicinal plants/herbs which can be promoted and cultivated for their medicinal values.

Exporting these herbs/plants of high medicinal value would earn the State huge revenue, said CADA.

The Government's word that 'alcohol would not be made available in Manipur after legalisation' has no merit and can't be trusted.

Indian Made Foreign Liquor which have labels that say "Defence Personnel Only" are available everywhere in Manipur, which is in fact a dry State.

The Government shouldn't take any step or propose legalisation of alcohol, said CADA.


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