AIZAWL, March 16 � Mizoram Government was to start sale of liquor in the State from today after a 17-year total prohibition, but only one wine shop could be opened instead of the intended six, because of protests spearheaded by the powerful Presbyterian Church and some NGOs.
State Excise ad Narcotics department officials said that one State PSU, the Mizoram Food and Allied Industries Corporation (MIFCO) opened its wine shop at the Millennium Centre here where liquor was sold and purchased.
The MIFCO was given three wine shop licenses in Aizawl but it could not open the other two today.
While a demonstration by local Joint Action Committee of Chaltlang locality obstructed people to buy from the shop, the request made by the local Presbyterian Church in Dawrpui locality to the owner of a building which housed the shop not to allow his building for selling liquor forced the PSU not to open the shop today, the officials said.
PSUs like Mizoram Agriculture Marketing Corporation, Zoram Industrial Development Corporation and the Ex-Soldiers Multipurpose Cooperative Society also could not open their shops due to protests from the local churches and some NGOs in the localities where they intended to open their shops.
The State Government last year enacted a new liquor law replacing the stringent Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995 in force in the State since February 20, 1997.
There has been strong objection from the churches especially the largest church � the Presbyterian Church which wanted continuation of the old dry law. � PTI