Consultative meet on NLTP Act 1989 held
KOHMA, FEBRUARY 24: The consultative meeting on the controversial Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act 1989 today held threadbare discussions on the implementation of the Act, its failure and suggestions for lifting the Act partially or in totality.
Interacting with media persons after the meeting, Advisor Excise, Zhaleo Rio said that he was happy that the NGOs and Tribal Organizations are gradually coming to understanding what it what.
“We are happy with the broad outlook of the various organizations who have shared their views on the issue today”, he said.
He said that the Government has also shared its mind on the Nagaland Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act of 1989 and in return the various organizations including Churches have come forward with a “very frank and pragmatic outlook”.
He said during the course of the interaction it was also found that there were opposing views regarding the NLTP Act but it was a cordial meeting.
He said that the takeaways from the meeting were that everybody said if the total implementation is a failure then there are two options. First option is that, if there is any scope to revisit the NLTP Act, it should be revised in keeping with the present times and implemented effectively. This rationale emanates after taking into consideration the ill-effects of the adulterated and spurious liquor and the problems being faced at the hands of bootleggers and alcohol syndicates which has given rise to many anti-social activities, he disclosed.
Secondly, if at all the Government takes any decision it should not be partial lifting but total lifting, he further stated.
However, he clarified that today’s meeting was not whether it should be partial lifting or total lifting.
“Even I am attending this meeting as a special invitee by virtue of being the Adviser assigned to assist the Chief Minister of Nagaland from the Excise Department”, he said, adding “So, I also made it my moral responsibility and duty to share my mind on behalf of the Government and also to take into account the social issues and social evils which our society is being confronted with. And today’s discussion was held based on this.”
“I am happy that today many of the representatives had submitted their views on the lifting of the Act in written statements along with their presentations on the topic. So the Committee on total prohibition will examine all those factors, study and submit their findings and recommendations”, he said.
He said that some organizations and groups of people are very allergic to: “When the Government invokes the revenue generation aspect in regard to the lifting of the NLTP Act”.
“Let any organisations talk ill about that but we need to generate revenue and employment because Nagaland being a salary dependent State has already passed the threshold of employment under the Government sector”, he added.
He went on to state that he is aware that the church is also concerned about the health of the people including their spiritual wellness.
The State Government is also concerned about the welfare of the people relating to the overall development in the State, he said.
Thus the Government, unlike the Church, cannot just be for one specific purpose. Since the Government of Nagaland is for the welfare of the people, all things are being taken into account, he said.
“So I think even the CSOs and the Church should understand the position of the Government”, stated Rio.
He also said that the Department of Health & Family Welfare, in coordination with the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), have examined the quality of alcohol in recent times.
It was reported in the meeting today that out of the 30 odd samples collected around 28 were found to be adulterated or spurious liquor, informed Rio.
Asked about how much loss the State is incurring annually due to the Act, Rio said that prior to the implementation of the Act, the State was collecting an amount to the tune of Rs.5 crores annually but after the implementation the amount has trickled down to 2-3 lakhs annually through collection of permission fees and levy duty.
Whereas, smaller States like Mizoram and Meghalaya are collecting more than 200 crore in a year. Assam, being a big State with a large population, is raking in revenues amounting to Rs.2000 crores annually on Excise Duty, he said.
Queried on whether the Government’s decision to the lift the prohibition partially or fully be subject to the decisions and wishes of CSOs and the Churches as has happened in the past, he stated, “I am happy that the NGOs, Tribal organizations are gradually coming to understanding what is what.”
If the Government so decides on any action it can do it but please bear in mind that the Government is taking into account the best interest of the people, he said.
According to DIPR, addressing the meeting Zhaleo informed that the State Government has not taken any decision to lift the NLPT Act, 1989 and that the meeting was being held to discuss and know the stand of stakeholders in the State.
Zhaleo stated that the Committee to review that NLPT Act, 1989 was formed in 2018 to conduct study on health issues due to consumption of spurious liqueur, to study the revenue generation of Excise Department of other Northeastern States and the avenues of employment generation in the State.
He further added that statements and views of the various organisations have been collected by the Committee on NLPT Act 1981 and the Committee will study the statements and submit its recommendations to the State Government.
The Advisor also stated that the Department of Excise has been working tirelessly towards implementation of the NLPT Act, 1989, however the outcome has not been satisfactory and could not achieve the end goal.
Chief Secretary and Chairman, Committee to study the issues relating to implementation of NLTP Act 1989, Jan E Alam stated that the Committee has been meeting various stakeholders and have heard their views and opinions. Adding that the meeting was just a consultative meeting, he thanked the NGOs for sharing their opinions and hoped to reach a common ground for the benefit of the people of the State. He assured that the Government is working with the best intentions and the Committee will be submitting its recommendations soon.
The meeting was presided over by Adviser, Excise, Zhaleo Rio, along with the Chief Secretary of Nagaland, J Alam, who also heads the Committee constituted by the State Government to study the implementation of the Act.
It was attended by 19 organizations ~ Nagaland Baptist Churches Council (NBCC), Nagaland Christian Revival Churches Council (NCRC), Catholic Association of Nagaland (CAN), Naga Hoho, Angami Public Organization (APO), Chakhesang Public Organization (CPO), Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC), Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization (ENPO), Zeliang Baudi (ZB), Naga Mothers Association (NMA), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Angami Students’ Union (ASU), Dimapur Naga Students’ Union(DNSU), Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF), Central Naga Students’ Association (CNSA) and Eastern Naga Womens’ Organization (ENWO).
(Page News Service)