Mizoram allows local grapes to be processed as wine; prohibition to continue
The development came three months after a public outrage triggered by the seizure of Mizoram-made grape wine known as “Champwine” by the state excise and narcotics department in May
The Mizoram cabinet on Tuesday allowed the locally grown grapes to be processed as wine and sold in the market freely, an official statement said.
The development came three months after a public outrage triggered by the seizure of Mizoram-made grape wine known as “Champwine” by the state excise and narcotics department in May.
The official statement said the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Zoramthanga deliberated The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Draft Rules, 2022 and resolved that the prohibition law should be continued to be implemented strictly in the state.
The meeting, however, allowed the manufacture and sale of wine from fresh grapes harvested by local farmers under the prohibition law, the statement said.
Earlier in May, there was public outcry demanding the legalisation of the manufacture of grape wine following the seizure of huge quantities of locally processed grape wine by state Excise and Narcotics department at some shops in Millennium Centre at the heart of Aizawl city.
Champhai Grape Growers’ Society were distraught at the turn of events and demanded the return of the seized bottled grape wines to the vendors in full quantities.
They also demanded the grape wines should be sold freely.
The public outrage has apparently delayed the publication of The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Draft Rules, 2022, which was already approved by the cabinet in its previous meeting, in the official gazette.
Opposition Congress workers had staged demonstration in Aizawl in July demanding the resignation of Excise and Narcotics minister following the death of a woman vendor, whose grape wine bottles worth over ₹22lakh were seized by the department in May.
The Congress alleged that the woman died of anxiety due to her losses.
Five years after wine shops were opened legally in Mizoram under the erstwhile Congress government, the state swung back to a dry state in 2019 as the Mizo National Front (MNF) government headed by Zoramthanga implemented The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Act, 2019 fulfilling its pre-poll promises.
The MLP act came into force in May 2019.
Under the new prohibition law, selling, manufacture, consumption and export of liquor and any liquid containing alcohol is prohibited.
Natural grapes are mainly grown in Champhai and Hnahlan areas in eastern Mizoram.
Locally processed grape wines were sold freely under compassionate grounds till the seizure in May.