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NBCC firm that prohibition remain
Staff Reporter Dimapur, Jul 4(NPN):
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Published on 5 Jul. 2010 12:14 AM IST
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Having initiated the consultative meet with civil societies ostensibly for garnering support to lift the prohibition act either partially or totally, the DAN government appears to be on a confrontation path with the powerful church organization, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council.
With the state government seriously considering such a move, in the light of the July 2 consultative meet with civil societies, the powerful church organization, the NBCC is ready to hold an open debate on all the points raised by the government and civil societies.
A source from the NBCC, admitted that though the prohibition act in Nagaland has failed yet hastened to point out that there are several factors responsible.
The source said one of the main factor was lack of will on the part of the government to clamp down on hotels and restaurants selling alcohol, including numerous illegal retail outlets particularly in Dimapur and Kohima. The source also said that when alcohol is openly served at various VIP functions and gatherings, it was left to anyone’s imagination on why the prohibition in Nagaland has failed.
According to the source, the NBCC stand is that the government’s pleas for lifting the prohibition Act were mere assumptions and not based on scientific as well as economic facts. The source pointed out that the government’s argument that prohibition was also one of the root causes for spread of HIV/AIDS, was a terrible misconception and bereft of any logic.
On the loss of revenue by the government after prohibition act was imposed, the source said what Nagaland may be losing is hardly even worth mentioning when compared with several hundred crore rupees lost through monumental corruption and mismanagement.
The source said the NBCC firmly believes that even on the issue of loss in revenue, the matter was between wealth versus health. The source claimed that the prohibition act has directly helped eliminate social problems caused by alcohol in almost all districts and especially the rural areas.
Conceding that the same was not true in Kohima and Dimapur, the source said there could be some reasons why liquor barons and black marketers were able to prevail and expand their illegal trades. Further, the NBCC source said the government of Nagaland should instead turn its attention to many other problems .
It may be noted that as per official data, before prohibition act was enforced during 1988-89, the revenue in excise from various sources was around Rs.550.9 lakhs (Rs.5.5 crore). On the first year after prohibition, the revenue during 1989-90 declined to Rs.110.09 lakhs(Rs.1.10 crore). On subsequent years after 1990, excise revenues showed erratic increase or decrease. The lowest recorded was during 1993-94 when revenue dipped to an all time low of Rs.98.35 lakhs. The highest point reached by way of revenue earned was during 2008-09 when the figure touched Rs. 333.08 lakhs (3.33 crore). In the latest, excise revenue for 2009-10 marginally decreased to Rs.260.41 lakhs(Rs.2.6 crore).

 
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