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Prohibition on liquors: Why not we take a referendum and decide?

 
The Bill which was referred to  the select committee for amendment of the prohibition Bill is not what many felt. Counter argument to the idea of this newspaper might receive serious blow from those who differ with the idea. Already thousands have been killed while drinking the smuggled or say illegal drinks. The state desperately needs a legislation to check the quality of the liquors found in the state instead of allowing collecting illegal taxes and not a legislation to export the wine. Running the government needs boldness and visions to save the society. A bunch people standing against the legalisation of liquors when 80 % of the people consumed it every day showed a sign of conspiracy on why the liquor should be banned.
Laws are made for the convenience of the people. If the law that become no more relevance or in other word if it is not supported by majority – than it is better take a referendum and change it. Yes it is a spirited defence for drinks.
Drinking is a vice- so said a few men considered wise and pious.
Though it stands agreeable, on further consideration and deliberation on the matter, exhausting a few more of the sparse grey matter than ever done before of which yours truly is endowed with in the process, things began to look more confusing and complex. What exactly is it that makes drinking a vice- is it the type of drink, or the amount of drink that one consumes, or the manner in which it is consumed or is it the ingredient or the content in a drink that is considered bad?
The unanimous response to this poser would be ‘Alcohol’. Granted, alcohol induces an altered state of mind and a decrease in the motor coordination of a person (an amusing sight any given day).
Yet, does every person who drinks behaves and is affected in the same way? Is there nothing positive or beneficial to say or write about for the humble spirit? What about the irrefutable claims by various researchers and scientists of the uncountable benefits of having wine regularly- a drink that contains mostly alcohol? Wasn’t gods supposed to have enjoyed wine? How could something the gods themselves imbibed be so bad? Or is it that the gods are after all just as vice loving as humans? Technicalities aside, one fails to understand the ruckus over drinking.

The State has been a dry state for more than a decade, yet prohibition has not done much to dissuade people from drinking, nor has it hampered the ease of procuring the chosen brand or type. The only real benefit prohibition provides is to the bootleggers and black marketers who are running a well oiled network of lucrative business. A very huge source of income for the fund crunched State like ours is not being tapped.
The people running the state has conceded as much when he says prohibition is not working in the State and precious funds and taxes from the liquor trade is not being collected in the State due to the Dry State status in effect.
Total prohibition will never be possible in our state. Prohibition has not had any effect on the consumption pattern of the people. Crimes related to drinking hasn’t seen much significant change, there are more pressing challenges of the drugs in the state – a problem which needs immediate attention and remedy.
Crime in the states where there is no prohibition in effect isn’t necessarily higher than in our state. The above instances demand an immediate removal of the dry state status from the state. It is not the drink that is bad, but the person taking the drink is the one which needs to be controlled, and control will only be possible when a systematic and strict enforcement is implemented regarding the type and availability of alcohol rather than to let the present situation continue.
A firmly regulated sales policy will ensure improvement for a social indulgence which simply will not be wished away. There are far more serious and heinous atrocities being perpetrated in our society for which the social organizations, the media and the Government agencies should be working in unison and channelize their efforts.
A consistent awareness drive against the evils of excessive drinking, coupled with intensive enforcement of the rules and regulations being implemented can control the crimes and problems related to drinking to a great degree, while providing a pragmatic solution to the baffling and disputed issue of the practicality and the effectiveness of prohibition in the state. The Chief Minister should make that call, however difficult it may seem, based on his beliefs and for the betterment of the State. There won’t be a dearth of supporters and well wishers who will be raising a toast to such a decisive decision.

William Gurumayum

William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. A avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.

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