Mizoram Assembly today passed a bill on liquor prohibition, which will replace a 17-year-old law, amidst walk-out by the six-member opposition.
State Excise and Narcotics Minister R. Lalzirliana introduced the 'Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Bill, 2014' which would replace the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act.
Under the new law, those who would create nuisance after drinking would be severely punished and could be imprisoned up to two years while drunken driving could invite the same punishment.
While the Prohibition law prohibited consumption and sale of alcohol, the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Bill, 2014 provided for opening of wine shops under strict regulation.
The minister said the state government expected to earn additional revenue of Rs 30 crore per annum through excise duty on sale of liquor.
Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, during the discussion said that the bill was not meant to create confrontation between the government and the church, but to save many youths from consuming spurious liquor sold in large quantity in the state due to imposition of prohibition.
Mizoram Synod of the Presbyterian Church of India, the largest church in the state, has been against the change of law saying this would relax prohibition in Mizoram.
Five opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) legislators and one Mizoram People's Conference (MPC) legislator staged a walkout just before vote was taken in the 40-member state Assembly.