Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act: A boon or a bane for the state?

Y Mhonchumo Humtsoe
Post Graduate Program (International Relations), NECU Dimapur

So much has been written and discussed about the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act. So, to cut a long story short, the NLTP Act came into being in 1989. The Act not only prohibits all kinds of alcohol-related production, manufacture and consumption but it also prohibits buying, selling and storage of liquor in the state. Since then, it has been running for three decades and continuing. It was done primarily based on moral and social reasons.

But the pertinent questions to be asked by everyone are; Has the Prohibition Act truly served its purpose? Does it work?

In India, at present, the Total Liquor Prohibition Act exists in the states of Mizoram, Gujarat, and Bihar including Nagaland and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep but unfortunately, no success story is being heard from any of these states. Some other states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Haryana have attempted to enforce the Liquor Total Prohibition Act but later on, they abandoned it due to a complete failure.

Therefore, if an Act no matter how good it may sound is not based on sound reasons, then what is the purpose of having such an Act that only brings ramifications to the state?

Everyone knows that the NLTP Act is a complete failure. Yet some few sections of society keep on pestering to retain the Act not knowing that the implementation of the prohibition Act for the sake of a perfunctory manner has only brought enormous damage to the state. Leave alone how much the state has to lose in terms of revenue income annually, ineffective and unsystematic enforcement of the prohibition act has only bred illegal spurious bootleggers and drug menace in the state rather than bringing any positive changes. In other words, the Prohibition Act is doing more harm than good to the state.

The aims and objectives of the act were good but somewhere down the line, it went wrong in the enforcement. Therefore, if an act does not serve its purpose even after more than 30 years of its implementation, then prohibiting and banning are not the only options. It needs to be changed or to find some alternative ways and means to deal with it rather than continuing with the same archaic act which has no bearing at all on the state.