IMPHAL, April 2 - Despite being a dry State, barring a few pockets, poll-bound Manipur will enforce three dry days on two polling days and the counting day on the Election Commission of India�s order.
Manipur will go to polls in two phases on April 11 (for Outer Manipur (ST) Parliamentary constituency and April 18 (for Inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency). The counting will be held on May 23.
The military, paramilitary and armed police, which have exemption under the Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act (MLPA) 1991, will have to obey the blanket ban.
Some Scheduled Caste villages, besides a few other Scheduled Tribe pockets in the State, are exempt from purview of the State�s Liquor Prohibition Act on account of their customary and traditional practices.
The dry days will come into force on April 11 and 18, the polling days and the third no alcohol day would be on May 23, when votes will be counted, according to a public notice issued by Commissioner of Excise B John Tlangtinkhuma.
�The public notice covers all the liquor license holders including the exempted categories,� said Th Imo, Deputy Superintendent of Excise department. �So, the exempted categories such as the security forces will have to observe dry day on these days.�
Since the enforcement of election code of conduct in March second week, the enforcement team of the State Excise department has so far seized over 5,461 litres of country liquor, 2622 litres of IMFL and 850 litres of beer worth over Rs 23.74 lakh, according to DSP (Excise).
He said the department has also arrested 325 individuals during 425 raids in the State. A fine of Rs 4,09,950 was also imposed.
As per Election Commission instruction, the Excise department has also sought inter-State coordination among the Excise Commissioners of neighbouring States to prevent the movement/entry of illicit liquor into Manipur, he added.
Manipur become a dry State in 1991 following widespread pressure from civil society organisations to control use of alcohol and drugs.
The Excise department further declared total ban on selling, giving or distribution of spirituous, fermented or intoxicating liquor or other substances of like nature at the hotel, eating house, tavern, shop or any other place, public or private, within a polling area during the period of 48 hours ending the hour fixed for the conclusion of poll for election in the polling areas.
All the liquor license holders including exempted categories are also covered by the ban, it added.
The department had already taken up an intensified drive to check flow of liquor in the State well ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
All the 39 Excise stations have been directed to take up appropriate necessary action against the illegal sales and production of illicit liquors.
The authorities of the stations have been directed to conduct frequent and regular raids and seize the illegal and illicit intoxicated IMFL, beer and country liquors, the source said.