Ending almost two decades of prohibition, Mizoram on Thursday enforced a new law to allow the regulated sale and consumption of alcohol.
However, the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act 2014, which came into force on Thursday, replacing the stringent Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act of 1995, provides for strict punishment for drunken driving, drinking without permit and causing public nuisance.
The MLPC Act relies heavily on permits, including for buying alcohol, with stiff penalties and jail terms ranging from five days to five years for various offences. The longest jail terms have been reserved for offences like drunken driving, causing ‘nuisance’ and drinking in public places.
At least one man has already been convicted under the new law for “causing nuisance”.
The MLPC Act also empowers any citizen to “arrest” offenders, provided they immediately hand them over to the police or officials of the Excise and Narcotics Department.
Excise Minister R Lalzirliana said legal liquor outlets would begin functioning from the first week of March, and three state PSUs have already applied for permits. He said while several outlets are planned for Aizawl, all other district headquarters would have at least one each.
Those with liquor permits would be entitled to buy six bottles of whiskey or rum and 10 bottles each of beer and wine per month.