TODAY -

Incomplete lifting of prohibition

Free Thinker *



The partial lifting of prohibition triggers little happiness; it should be full and final. Second, the emphasis is imprudent; priority should have been given to the local brew (with quality control). Still, there is ample scope for black marketing of foreign liquor (IMFL) that will pinch the purse of the common people more than hurting their liver or kidney.

Third, our mothers and prohibitionists are not fully convinced; so honorable lawmakers and respected local representatives should go and convince our mothers; without their blessings "Yu" can't be made a global brand.

Dear friends and citizens, it is not about liver and kidney or local rice, it is about improving the economy. Such a limited measure will lead to further monopolization and cartelization.

The fruits of lifting the ban must go to the State and the benefits of commercialization of local brew must go to the people in general, particularly to rice producers, manufacturers, distributors, promoter transporters, exporters, sellers, and above all the drinkers. It should be widespread. The benefits and profits should be shared by all and sundry. After all, we are a welfare State.

The good news is that the price of local rice has come down drastically since we are getting subsidized or free rice due to the Central pandemic planning. If the policy continues the local brewers will have a gala time; they may also reduce the price of the drinks.

One MLA has openly said that he will purchase local rice from anyone who wants to sell it. This was in response to the news that these days there is hardly anyone to buy local rice even at such a low price of Rupees 25 per Kg.

We can't practically ban foreign liquors or Indian-made foreign liquors and Indian 'desis'; we must accommodate them too as we are also to market our products like 'Sekmai', 'Andro' 'Phayeng' or any other local brand under the nomenclature "Yu".

At the outset let us unanimously decide that the name of our brand must carry the title "Yu " as a suffix or prefix so as to maintain its exotic identity just like the Goa Feni, Russian Vodka, Japanese Saki, English Sheri, Scotch of Scotland.

To establish a global identity we need to maintain international standards not only in alcohol content but also in taste and flavor. I strongly believe that our "Yu ", if properly commercialized and marketed, can take on global brands.

Hats off to our lawmakers for moving in the right direction; but actual priority must be given to the production and promotion of our local brew instead of procuring and selling outside brands. We are not against outside brands but we desperately need to pamper our local brews for survival and further push till it reaches a compatible level.

What is the point of having a good liver and kidney when our economy is tottering and our children are not getting proper education or jobs ? Government employees are not getting their salaries regularly.

Rice cultivators are not getting the remunerative price. According to an assessment, the excise revenue will grow like anything in a few years' time if we can successfully commercialize "Yu". And many people will become financially comfortable if not very rich as a result of lifting the prohibition completely and fully commercializing the local brew.

Honestly, I am not a "Yu" connoisseur or alcohol expert; I am simply getting feedback from seasoned drinkers; they say that 'Sekmai' is really good; even the tourists and foreign visitors do acknowledge its prospects.

We really don't understand the logic of prolonging the prohibition when the State economy is in shambles. In the last 30 years or so alcohol consumption in the State has not decreased or has been effectively controlled. Now, Manipur, under prohibition, is one of the highest consumers of liquor.

Some may argue that - this is the failure of the Government for not strictly implementing prohibition. Tell me which country or State is successful in prohibition. Instead, it damages the State economy. The Rich States or big States can afford it but we can't.

Let us be a global player; let the international highways go through our land, let the trains dissect us; let our international airport be one of the busiest, day and night.

Then let us see what happens, why should we shy away from global competition our liquor, tourism, medical tourism (our doctors and nurses are one of the best), culture, sports, and above all our hemp (now an in thing) can make the world go crazy. We must have faith in ourselves.

Forget about the 'desi' competition, our "Yu" can be a global competitor; if we try to manipulate our drinks by using chemicals and ethanol, etc., we are doomed. We must maintain traditional purity and improve upon it that is the key to remain as sui generis.

Our water, rice, and local techniques can't be replaced but the production can be made more systematic and sophisticated. Mechanization is a good idea but room for small-scale and cottage production must also be there. It is high time to have a blueprint.

Above all, the welfare of the drinkers must be kept in mind; their contribution to Nation-building is no less than the income taxpayers. Cheers.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 25 2022 .



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