Aizawl: Ban on consumption of liquor in Mizoram is affecting the tourism industry in the mountainous state, a minister said on Monday. Since last 15 years, sale and consumption of liquor is not allowed in the state.
Tourism Minister S Hiato, while inaugurating a new tourist lodge at Lunglei in southern Mizoram, said: "The foreign and domestic tourists were once keen to visit Mizoram and enjoy its traditional life and culture. It is time that the churches and the NGOs have a rethink on the liquor law."
The Christian missionaries -- who have played a dominant role in Mizoram`s society with 86 percent of the 1.1 million population being Christians -- and some local NGOs are against consumption of liquor.
The minister said: "During the last 12 years, only 5,412 foreign tourists and a little more than 6,000 domestic tourists have visited Mizoram."
"During the last two years after the union home ministry relaxed the restricted area permit, which restricted foreigners from visiting Mizoram and few other northeastern states, inflow of foreign tourists slightly increased," Hiato said.
The Mizoram government recently introduced helicopter services in the state to oversee developmental works, provide connectivity to people in emergency situations and carry dignitaries besides boosting tourism.
Though there are restrictions in consumption of liquor, there is clandestine selling and consumption of liquor all across Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.
According to the state`s excise and narcotics department, over 38,000 people have been arrested for selling liquor after the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995 was enforced in 1997. Of the 38,000 arrested people, around 28,000 people were convicted.