Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sale of liquor only to foreign nationals: Rio


Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio that the government has decided to permit sale and consumption of liquor only to foreign delegates attending the G20 business meeting to be held in Kohima from April 4-6.
Addressing the media after presenting the Budget, Rio explained that the relaxation arose due to a pressing need for the government to mobilize more resources to meet increasing developmental needs. He said revenue generation was one of the areas being considered in permitting sale of liquor to foreign nationals coming to Nagaland for the G20 meeting.
Rio said the restricted sale was permitted within the ambit of the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1989, for certain hotels of star category. He clarified that the government decided to allow sale of liquor to foreign nationals under Section 16 of the NLTP Act.
He however reiterated that the permit was given only under the provisions laid down in the act and that there would be no relaxation on the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act 1989.
Rio also said that the sale of liquor was permitted under the section cited above, to foreigners and their associates in order to give a boost to tourism.
The section states that: “The State Government and the Director may grant permit on such conditions and for such periods as may be specified for the use and consumption of liquor by any person who is- (a) a sovereign or Head of foreign country, or (b) an Ambassador, diplomatic envoy or counsel, Honorary counsel or trade, commerce or other representatives of a foreign country, or (c) a foreign national on tour to India, and d) the consort of any person specified in Clause (a), (b) (c) or any relation of such person and dependent upon him”.
He observed that while towns in the neighboring state of Assam like Khatkhati were growing economically due to sale of liquor for consumers while adjacent places on the Nagaland side were like forests.
Rio expressed concerns over sale of adulterated and illicit liquor in Nagaland which has proved harmful for those who consume them.
While advocating practical implementation of the Act, Rio however maintained that the debate on whether or not to life the Act should continue.
Answering a query on a suggestion made by an advisor of the government to either strictly implement or lift the Act, Rio said that no matter what the one may say, government policies will be decided only by the cabinet.
Govt on a revenue hunt through oil, and sale of lottery
Earlier in his Budget speech, Rio also stressed on the need for revenue through oil exploration along the border areas. He said the state government intends to begin exploration and extraction in the Disputed Area Belt (DAB) once the tripartite MoU with Government of India, Nagaland and Assam was signed.
Rio expressed concern over the substantial loss in revenues while Assam continues to exploit the resources from oil in the border areas to Nagaland’s disadvantage.
Oil exploration hit a road block when the union government deflated the DAN-II government’s effort to explore oil by framing its own rules under Nagaland Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulation 2012. The DAN-II had also awarded huge oil zones mainly in Wokha district as well as Peren to the controversial MoGPL in 2012. It is not known as to under what principle will the tripartite MoU be signed between the three parties.
On state lotteries which are being run by the same organiser for several decades on extension and eventually through tender, Rio said the government will explore the possibility of introducing sale of state’s own lotteries within the state to begin with.


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