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Church opposes sale of �love pot� in Mizoram

By Newmai News

AIZAWL, Dec 18 � The fate of the locally brewed wine, Zawlaidi, hangs in balance as the church, NGOs and local authorities still oppose the sale of this wine in Mizoram.

On the other hand, Champhai Grape Growers Society, comprising hundreds of villagers who earn their livelihood by cultivating grapes in the southern tip of Mizoram, has asked the State Government not to ban the sale of grape wine Zawlaidi, despite pressures from the church and some voluntary organisations.

This request emerged after a discussion held in Champhai recently and the participants of the event raised voice against the demand for banning of Zawlaidi, as many families have taken up grape cultivation as their permanent occupation under the guidance of State Horticulture Department.

Those who attended the discussion included journalists, Nodal Officer C Lalremsiama who is also Sub-Divisional Horticulture Officer, Rural Bank Manager, Benjamin Lianzama and others. The discussion was presided over by the vice-president of Champhai Grape Growers Society HKL Thanga.

Earlier, the sale of Zawlaidi, which literally means �love pot� had faced a lot of criticism from every quarter. One locality in Aizawl had even served a diktat to a retail vendor to move out of the locality if he wanted to continue his business.

The issue has also been raised by Evangelical Church of Maraland in Mara Autonomous District Council in southern Mizoram supported by other organisations to ban the sale of Zawlaidi in the district council area. The church and the voluntary organisations also asked the government to cancel the permits issued to the retail vendors for Saiha town.

The Mizoram Government in 2007 made an amendment to the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, passed in 1997, to enable grape growers in Hnahlan and Champhai in northeastern parts of Mizoram to manufacture wine from their fruits of labour. Even as the grape growers have heaved a sigh of relief, the church organisations in Mizoram, who are behind the prohibition law, have expressed their resentment over the liberalisation.

In Hnahlan village, 80 per cent of the total population of 670 families, have been engaged in producing grapes and 325 families in Champhai area.

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