TODAY -

Ideas from the man from Ukhrul AC: Thinking out of the box
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 04, 2022 -



Not a normal politician.

This is how MLA from Ukhrul Assembly Constituency Ramnganing Muivah aka Ram Muivah likes to describe himself, if his statement to a news agency some time back is anything to go by and one can see a bit of that trait emerging from the observations he has laid down in the ongoing session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

A former Secretary of the North Eastern Council having cracked the civil services exams to join the elite IAS in 1985, Ram Muivah is not new to holding positions of eminence, but perhaps this could be the first time that he is in a chair where he is directly accountable to the people, the people of Ukhrul Assembly Constituency in this case.

Just a few months into his new avatar and it may be too early to say anything about him as the MLA representing Ukhrul Assembly Constituency but his take on the idea of the State Government to lift prohibition is refreshing.

Perhaps he is the first MLA in the current session to have come out strongly in favour of the idea to lift prohibition and it is interesting to note that the reasons he has spelt out for his stand is all about positive interpretations of what he sees and what he believes in.

'Attract the rich and famous for private investment for whom wine and beer is part of a normal meal. There is a saying that the civilization of a people is measured according to the kind of wine we drink as well as in how we treat the poor and less fortunate, differently challenged people, orphan and widows,' perhaps best sums up the vision of the man from Ukhrul AC and it falls in line with the idea of the BJP led Government to study the possibility of lifting prohibition.

In one statement and with clever use of words, the MLA has been able to deliver his point that prohibition does not exactly go well with the idea of attracting investments.

Or in projecting Manipur as a tourist destination.

The Sun kissed beaches of Goa, the immense draw of Sikkim as a destination for many, the idyllic beauty of Shillong would be unthinkable without their immense potential to draw in the tourists and prohibition is a word that does not figure at these places at all.

This is another point that was effectively and beautifully put across in the observation of the MLA.

This is the observation and idea of the MLA but it also stands that in as much the suggestion of lifting prohibition sounds attractive and reasonable, there is also the equally strong and influential anti-liquor group, which cannot be simply swept aside.

How the Government goes ahead with its proposal to convince the anti-liquor lobby remains to be seen, but it should be clear that it would need more than the 'revenue' line of argument to convince everyone.

How well prepared is the Government to take everyone along with its idea of a Manipur sans prohibition ?

Perhaps it would need the advice and suggestions from all, particularly the elected Members of the Assembly and this is where advice and suggestions from persons like Ram Muivah may be needed.

The coming days is likely to witness more debates, particularly from the anti-liquor lobby and this is something which the Government must have expected, the moment the Chief Minister touched on the subject on the floor of the Assembly on August 1.

Here it also becomes important for the people as a whole to realise that drinking responsibly is what anyone would prescribe and the past has more than shown that the people of Manipur did not actually demonstrate that they could down a peg or two or three with the needed sense of responsibility.

It was this factor which led to prohibition being enforced in 1991 as also the emergence of so many vigilante groups which cracked down hard on alcohol consumption.

Prohibition - to lift or let the status quo continue can be the topic for debate in the coming days and it would be interesting to see and hear the different takes on this.



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