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Committee to review Prohibition Act

Rio admits that NLTPA has been a failure

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has agreed to constitute a committee comprising of Naga leaders to look into the details of The Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1989 (NLTPA). 

NCP MLA and Chairman of MACROFED, Mmhonlumo Kikon, today called for the assessment and review of the Act, in the 24th year of its enactment, at the second session of the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly. “It is essential for a committee to review if alcohol consumption has increased or decreased since the Act has been in place, if drug use has risen or declined, and how spurious liquor might have affected the health of those consuming it in the state,” said Kikon in an interview after today’s Assembly session. “Has the Act brought a change? Why has the number of liquor dens gone up, or alcohol consumption remained high? These things need to be reviewed,” he reiterated.
Rio admitted today that the NLTPA has been a failure and apart from “thorough public discussion”, a technical committee should be appointed to present technical views on the Act.

“It is very important, and only proper, to review any act from time to time,” stated a church leader, “but it should be done with an open mind, not with an agenda. All stakeholders of the Act should be consulted for a review.” According to this leader, who prefers to stay anonymous in the face of this “sensitive issue”, consumption of liquor has reduced since the Act was enacted in 1989, before which alcohol was openly sold and consumed.

The Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) disagrees. “Prohibition, it seems, has not helped at all. There has been an increased in alcoholism, and more so among young mothers,” claimed NMA President, Abei-ü Meru. Though there is no data to substantiate either of the claims, both the church and the mothers feel it is time to review the Act. “It needs to be put through public debate first,” maintained Meru, and also that this should be done with intent to amend, not remove the Act.

Rio pointed out today that the NLTPA needs serious study about its effects, and that of spurious liquor manufacturers making huge profits. The Chief Minister said that the Prohibition Act has been confronting Naga society for some time now. However, he said, being a democratic country and Nagaland State being dominated by Christians, the government had enacted the Total Prohibition Act as demanded by the people. The Nagaland Baptist Church Council declined to comment on the issue at this point of time.
“The Act has failed to check the crookedness of bootleggers, and there has been no proper implementation of the Act anywhere but in Dimapur. Is the Prohibition only for Dimapur?” questioned MLA Kikon. “Though it will take time to set up a review committee, I applaud the CM for taking up such a step,” he held.
(With inputs from DIPR and PTI)

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