Mizoram on Wednesday passed the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition Bill 2019 banning the sale and consumption of alcohol for the general public after March 31, NorthEast Now reported. Violators risk being sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined a maximum of Rs 1 lakh.

The ruling Mizo National Front had promised to ban the sale of alcohol before it won the November 2018 Assembly Election. Excise and Narcotics Minister K Beichhua introduced the Bill in the House, which passed it unanimously.

Beichhua said alcohol had led to many deaths, reduced work efficiency and increased alcoholism and HIV-AIDS cases in the state.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga described alcohol as a “killing machine and a widow making machine”, Hindustan Times reported. “Too many people have died since prohibition was lifted,” the chief minister said.

Zoramthanga said the decision will cost the exchequer Rs 70 crore annually. “We cannot think of economy in such a scenario,” Zoramthanga said.

The previous Congress government had lifted an 18-year-old ban on alcohol by replacing the Mizoram Liquor (Total Prohibition) Act, 1995 with the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014, The Indian Express reported.