Mizoram: From Liquor brewing to viable Farming, the story of transformation in Aizawl!
DARLAWNG: At the height of prohibition in Mizoram, this village on top of a hill in Aizawl district ensured that the tipplers stayed in high spirits. With limited options for livelihood, Darlawng village's dependence on illegal brewing of country liquor made it infamous in a state where the influential church bodies favoured prohibition.
It takes over two hours of bumpy ride from the state capital, often on shared sumo taxis, to reach the village, which is slowly showing a transformation, driven by the Union government's rural livelihood project for northeastern states.
In 2012, two years prior to the lifting of complete prohibition, the state government came down heavily on illegal sale of liquor. This forced villagers to shift to the less lucrative farming, animal rearing and other petty businesses. But they struggled due to lack of experience, entrepreneurial skill and funds. That is when the Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) ministry stepped in with its North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP), with funds coming from the World Bank.
NERLP first set up a minor irrigation project in Darlawng, with water drawn from nearby streams. "This made a huge difference to the villagers, as farm yield rose and the area under cultivation increased from 20 hectares to over 36 hectares," Reuben Ranglong, the district project manager, said. "Around 130 of the 160 families in the village are now engaged in agriculture and allied activities whereas, earlier, only around 70 families were into it."