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Loss outweighs gain from liquor after opening wine shops: Survey

Mizoram

Loss outweighs gain from liquor after opening wine shops: Survey

Aizawl: A study group,  a branch of ‘Review and Evaluation Committee’ constituted by the Mizoram government to analyse and evaluate the socio-economic impact of the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control (MLPC) Act, 2014, that allowed opening of wine shop in the state has found that the losses incurred in liquor outweighed the revenue gains.

This was highlighted at a one day workshop on MLPC Study group report here on Monday.

After 17 years of total prohibition, the MLPC Act that allowed opening of wine shop came into force in January, 2015.

Giving a report on the finding of the study group, principal Investigator Dr Laldinliana Varte said while the profit or benefit earned from liquor was estimated at Rs 1, the revenue loss incurred from purchase of liquor was estimated at Rs 2.85.

Like in other states, the social cost of liquor was higher than its benefit in Mizoram as well, he said, adding that the social cost was higher than benefit even during total prohibition period due to availability of liquor and drinkers.

He said that the study group primarily focused on the socio-economic impact of the MLPC act on Mizo society.

According to Varte, all the findings of the study group could not be attributed to the impact of MLPC act alone as a comprehensive study of the socio-economic impact of liquor especially in health sector was not conducted during total prohibition period.

The study group is a branch of Review and Evaluation Committee’ of the MLPC Act, constituted in July, 2016. It is headed by Dominic Lalhmangaiha as convener and comprises six other members including  a church leader, a psychiatrist, university professors, a central YMA leader and a senior journalist.

The study covered a period of one year from April 2016 to April 2017.

While the revenue profit received by the state government from warehouse and vendors was estimated at over Rs 23.52 crore, more than  Rs 4.91 crore was received from excise duty and another Rs 12.45 crore from value added tax.

The study also revealed that apart from drinkers, whose consumer surplus was estimated at Rs 28.19 crore, only the government, liquor vendors and commercial sex workers benefited from liquor.

The study group interviewed 25 commercial sex workers in Aizawl and out of this 61 per cent said their client increased after opening of liquor shops.

The study group estimated the cost of vehicular accidents due to drunk driving at Rs 16 lakh. However, the actual cost could be much higher in the state since the date was collected from Aizawl  city traffic police alone.

The study group also found that consumption of liquor more or less affected works among drinkers and estimated a loss due to this at Rs 9.48 crore.

A loss of over Rs 2.40 crore was incurred under ‘quality of life’, the study also revealed.

As per the findings of the study group, 431 out of 2,734 deaths were related to alcohol and estimated a loss due to untimely death at Rs 4.31 crore. Medical expenses on alcoholic related accidents and illness were estimated at Rs 4.09 core and Rs 6.35 crore respectively.

Of the 1,307 criminal cases registered under the jurisdiction of superintendent of police of Aizawl district, 457 were related to alcohol, which incurred a lost upto Rs 3.63 crore.

While Rs 2.67 crore was lost on judicial cost, the government spent another Rs 1.20 crore on liquor related prisoners, the study group also said.

Apart from these, there was social cost like domestic violence which could not be put in term of money.

The study group suggested that re-imposition of total prohibition in the state is not totally objectionable as the profit- loss ratio from liquor is 1:2.85. However, all citizens should strongly commit to the government and churches and NGOs should take more efforts if total prohibition is to be re-instated because it usually lead to violation of law and that the state government will loss revenue.

It also suggested that awareness on health hazard due to consumption of liquor and affect of liquor on Mizo society through media and reduction of supply should be taken into account if partial or controlled prohibition is to be imposed.

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Mr. Khojol is a journalist based in Aizawl, Mizoram. He writes for various national and regional media houses. In his free time, he can be caught reading books and watching movies.

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