AIZAWL, July 15 - Mizoram has witnessed manifold increase in Excise revenue since the lifting of the 17-year-old total prohibition of liquor in the early 2015.
According to Statistical Handbook of Mizoram 2016, the revenue earned from liquor sale increased to Rs 6057.90 lakh in 2015-16 from Rs 458.93 lakh in 2014-15.
The revenues were earned from the three warehouses and liquor shops. The Excise & Narcotics department�s achievements also included seizure of country liquor and illegally imported liquor and beer. The seizure of country-made liquor has decreased from 40,244 litres in 2014-15 to 29,526.91 litres in 2015-16, and to 17,842.18 litres in 2016-17.
Though the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Act 2014 that replaced Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1995 came into force on January 15 last, sale of liquor started from March 16, that too from a single wine shop at Millennium Centre shopping mall in Aizawl.
At present, there are five liquor shops in the State capital Aizawl, two in southern town Lunglei and one in Serchhip town. The government is planning to open more shops in other district headquarters.
As of March this year, the State of 1.1 million people has 71,158 liquor card holders entitled to six 750ml IMFL bottles and 10 bottles each of wine and beer a month from 51 operational outlets.
Sale of liquor has faced stiff opposition from the influential Mizoram Presbyterian Church, the largest denomination in the Christian-majority State, which has successfully obstructed the government�s plans to open liquor shops in a number of locations in Aizawl. Officials said the existing five wine shops in Aizawl are not enough to cater to the need of drinkers.
Apart from the church, the main opposition Mizo National Front has been organising rallies against the opening of liquor shops with an aim to stir Christian sentiments.
The MNF, which has promised to impose prohibition again if voted to power in the 2018 State Assembly polls, demanded that the State Government immediately close down the wine shops. The MNF alleged that hundreds of people have died after the opening of wine shops.