KOHIMA: As the Hornbill festival is on and Christmas nears, illegal liquor from Assam is pouring into Nagaland, which is one of dry states of the country; at least on the paper.
Despite the best efforts of the Naga Mother’s Hoho, a mother's collective that was instrumental in prohibition of liquor in the state and which still patrols the borders with Assam and burns cases of liquor entering Nagaland, liquor continues to flow into the hill state.
Revelers say they have to pay as high a double or triple the original price of Assam to get liquor from black market, which is rampant during the festive season but also does well throughout the year.
"A beer can costs around Rs 40 in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Here, we have to pay Rs 120," said Wangshi Ao.
"The liquor bottles have marked 'For sale in Assam only' and they are found all over Nagaland," chuckles a teen.
Black marketers say they have to pay to a lot of agencies, including the police and the customs to get the illegal booze smuggled into Nagaland, which is why they have to charge so high.
"The cops have their share as does the custom officials. It's generally decided on the quality of the liquor and the amount," said a booze seller near Naga Bazaar area of Kohima.
"Though the sales are higher during this period, throughout the year our business goes on," said booze seller Ramesh Yadav.
Meanwhile, youngsters are seen drunk to their throats and singing and dancing on the streets with music popping out of music systems in cars.
"This is the time of the year when we friends have most parties. Nobody cares about anything," said Thomas Angami, a reveler.
However, the nights are also dangerous as drunk driving is rampant during this period.
"We witness a lot of drunk driving accidents during this period. However, that is more rampant in cities and not the highways," said a police official.