TODAY -

Liquor for better health! Indigestible explanation
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: September 22, 2022 -



WITHOUT an iota of doubt, binge drinking is one of the factors for a substantial number of people in dry state Manipur suffering from liver and kidney diseases as well as cause for discord within the families even though combination of substance abuse and liquor consumption is also considered to be another reason for prevalence of the same ailment.

It's an established fact that if consumed in excess, alcohol can affect all areas of a person's life, as well as the lives of their family and friends. Personal relationships can be subjected to arguments over drinking which can lead to conflict and break ups.

There will also be negative consequences in the workplace arising from poor performance, accidents and absenteeism as a result of drinking.

For some, drinking in excess can lead to legal problems as a result of anti-social and violent behaviour while for the marginalised section of the society regular drinking will be financially disastrous.

Moreover, possibility of intoxicated people, especially the immature ones, becoming either perpetrators or victims of crime cannot be ruled out.

Considering all these social-economic ills, it is hard to believe that the government of Manipur sees legalisation of sale and consumption of liquor, after over 30 years of remaining as a dry state, as a Means to promote conscious drinking and prevent diseases associated with insobriety.

Had the government candidly admitted that it is finding it difficult to fund the various health and socio-economic programmes then the proposal would have been considerable and those opposed to such a move might have empathised the establishment.

The move to legalise sale of liquor also vindicate condemnations by civil societies that the government has failed to implement the prohibition legislation adopted in 1991.

As elaborated by cabinet minister Letpao Haokip after the government decided to lift the prohibition on liquor, sale of government-approved brands will be permitted in Greater Imphal, tourist destinations in district headquarters, battalions of armed forces and hotels having lodging facility of not less than 20 beds in the first phase.

The government's explanation is that in-spite of being a 'dry state' there is no restriction on sale and use of liquor in certain areas like army cantonment and battalions of central forces whereas liquor prohibition led to the people consuming spurious local liquor consequently increasing cases of kidney and liver failures in the state.

In view of the emerging health situation brought about by consumption of spurious liquor, as stated by the minister, the state cabinet decided to lift liquor prohibition from certain areas.

As unauthorised sale of liquor and consumption of the same is most rampant in the valley areas the rationale to permit sale of liquor within militarised locations in the hill districts is questionable for number of both liquor users in Christian-dominated hill areas and tourist footfall is negligible.

Thus, it is obvious that the decision was driven by the need for generation of revenue to aid the government make the welfare schemes and projects purposeful and has little to do with concerns of the citizens' health for majority of the drinkers would still go for the cheaper country liquor.

Nevertheless, having taken the firm resolve to allow sale of liquor, it is suggested that government reach out to the concerned civil societies to explain about its predicament, focus on making the commoners aware of the impact of excessive drinking, ensure that the under-aged are totally barred from accessing sale outlets and instruct the law enforcement agencies not to tolerate driving in inebriated condition or trouble makers at-least in public places.



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