In a relief for local brewers, the Mizoram Cabinet on Tuesday allowed the processing of local grape wine in the state.
This comes months after grape growers' society in east Mizoram's Champhai district protested against the seizure of locally brewed grape wine and demanded legislation on the manufacture of wine.
According to an official statement, the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Zoramthanga deliberated The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Draft Rules, 2022 and resolved that the prohibition law would continue to be implemented strictly.
It however allowed the manufacture and sale of wine from fresh grape harvested locally by farmers under the prohibition law, the statement said.
Earlier in May, the state government had seized huge quantities of locally manufactured grape wine at Aizawl's shops, triggering an outrage in the state with Champhai Grape Growers' Society demanding the return of the seized bottled grape wines.
The society had also demanded that grape wines be sold freely.
The public outrage has apparently delayed the publication of The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Draft Rules, 2022, which was already approved by the cabinet in its previous meeting, in the official gazette.
Five years after wine shops were opened legally in Mizoram under the erstwhile Congress government, the state became a dry state in 2019 as the Mizo National Front (MNF) government headed by Zoramthanga implemented The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Act, 2019 fulfilling its pre-poll promises.
The MLP act came into force in May 2019.
Under the new prohibition law, selling, manufacture, consumption and export of liquor and any liquid containing alcohol is prohibited.
Natural grapes are mainly grown in Champhai and Hnahlan area in eastern Mizoram. Locally processed grape wines were sold freely under compassionate ground till the seizure in May.