What people of Nagaland want? NLTP Act or Prohibition?
THE recent disclosure of the Chief Minister that Nagaland Legislative Assembly may discuss the NLTP Act has elicited statements from a host of concerned individuals, the Churches and authorities which filled the local papers much to the delight of liquor business kingpins and their cohort bootleggers. I gave my comment on the same which appeared in local papers on 13.6.2014. Without repeating what was said already I have one question to stake holders.
We all know how Nagaland Govt. promulgated NLTP Act 25 years ago. The movement was spearheaded by NBCC to have the Prohibition law. When the State Govt. hesitated to declare Nagaland as ‘Dry’ for obvious reasons, the protesters resorted to hunger strike and fast unto death. The then Chief Minister SC Jamir, being an elderly leader, did not want any Christian, more so the volunteers of NBCC, to go to hell. The logic was that wilfully committing death is suicide. Be it a protester for a good cause or anyone who commits suicide may miss heaven. Thus, NLTP Act came into being, since then Nagaland State has been enjoying ‘Dry State” for a quarter of a century. During these 25 years, we have seen clearly how successful is the promulgation of prohibition in the State. We have now known the merits, demerits and huge ramifications of NLTP Act. A debate on the issue with 25 years of practical experience would be lively and interesting.
The NLTP Act and Prohibition are same but different. The question is between the reality and the myth, the theory and the practice. The intricacy of the issue is though we have the law of Total Prohibition and have no prohibition in reality. Somebody told me that there may not be less than 200 liquor shops in Kohima town as those shops are obvious. People know how the inflow of liquor into Nagaland is orchestrated. People know who do involve in the business. And yet, none dares to do anything against them as they wield power in the sight of authority and Church.
As of today, the most powerful public organisation like NBCC, the Excise Department and a host of individuals are deadly against lifting NLTP Act. Therefore, it will be, I believe, impossible for the present DAN Govt. to go against the wishes of these powerful lobbyists. As such, the NLTP Act will possibly remain. In other words, Nagaland will remain a Dry State in India. As the lobbyists want to retain NLTP Act, they will have it. Unfortunately this Act cannot bring Prohibition as proved during the last 25 years. Whatever the case may be, we should be satisfied with the retention of NLTP Act. Forget about prohibition as long as we retain NLTP Act. That is what we want.