Liquor licence system on Govt agenda, says Ibobi
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 21 2014: The State Government is actively considering to revoke the dry State status of Manipur and officially permit opening of liquor shops under certain terms and con-ditions.

Chief Minister O Ibobi today stated in the State Assembly that his Government has been considering about lifting the prohibition on liquor business and introduce a new system under which liquor can be sold in the State after obtaining licence from the Government.

O Ibobi who is also in charge of Finance Department today tabled several demands pertaining to Transport, PWD, Commerce and Industries, Excise, Sales Tax, Other Taxes/Duties on Commodities and Services and Planning Department.

Responding to policy cut and economic cut motions raised by opposition Members in the course of discu- ssing the demands, Ibobi informed the House that the State Government has been considering to lift the ban on sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in the State in order to raise the State's revenue.

Liquor licence system on Govt agenda, says Ibobi
Liquor licence system on Govt agenda, says Ibobi

In view of the excessive abuse of liquor by a large section of the State's population and its impact on the society, the State Government declared Manipur as a dry State and prohibited all types of liquor business since 1991 .

Whereas Assam has been earning huge amounts of revenue by setting up or facili- tating establishment of cigarette, Khaini and Bidi factories, the Government of Manipur made several attempts to ban even Khaini, cigarette and other tobacco products considering the adverse health problems caused by consumption of these products but all the attempts achieved little success.

After Assam's Khatkhati started liquor production on commercial scale which are allegedly adulterated with tobacco and even Urea, IMFLs are now available in every part of Manipur, Ibobi stated.

IMLFs presently made available in the canteens of 1st MR, 2nd MR and Assam Rifles have been transformed as an effective means for earning big and easy money for some people.

Mizoram has revoked the dry State status recently.

The official status of being a dry State has been rendered meaningless following establishment of several liquor factories in Assam.

Given this situation, the Government has been considering to lift the prohibition on liquor and liquor business.

Pros and cons of issuing permits for liquor business which should be done under certain terms and conditions are being studied minutely.

The Government would consult all the MLAs before taking a final decision, Ibobi stated.

There would be no harm in exporting liquors brewed at Sekmai and Andro after they are properly sealed and neatly packaged, Ibobi added.

Informing that Government departments owe taxes amounting to Rs 500 crore to the State, the Chief Minister maintained that the amounts indebted to Government departments may be deducted from their budgetary allocations.

Individual power consumers still owe power tax amounting to Rs 300 crore.

Number of taxable items listed by the Government of Manipur is just 163, far below many other States which have as many as 300 taxable items.

The matter of raising the number of taxable items would be studied at a Cabinet meeting, Ibobi stated.

Replying to the discussion on the demand for Commerce and Industries, Minister Govindas Konthoujam maintained that the amount allocated to his Department which would invest in entrepreneurs of the State was too small.

Due consent has been obtained for upgrading the lone industrial estate of the State located at Takyel.

Moreover, the Government has been working to set up industrial estates in each and every district of the State.

For construction of a permanent flat cum exhibition complex, necessary plot has been acquired at Lamboi Khongnangkhong.

The complex would have an exhibition hall and one open air theatre.

Three distinctive handloom products of the State viz; Shaphi-Lanphi, Wangkhei Phi and Moirang Phi have been registered.

Efforts are on to register other unique handloom products.

One unit of 70 powerlooms has been already opened at Takyel Industrial Estate, Govindas informed the House.

Transport and Works Minister Dr Kh Ratankumar said that the Government has been working to formulate a Transport Policy as collection of information on the ever increasing number of vehicles, international airport, railway and inland water way is almost complete.

What is left for introduction of Imphal-Mandalay bus service is the MoU which would be signed between the countries shortly.

Due process has also been initiated to lease JNURM buses to private transporters.

Dr I Ibohalbi, L Ibomcha, Th Shyamkumar, Dr Ng Bijoy, Th Bishwajit and Kh Joykisan took part in discussing the demands.

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