State Tribal Development Minister Babanrao Pachpute has backed out of his plans to make tribals ‘self reliant’ by encouraging them to manufacture liquor from the Moha or mahua flower.
“I was looking at ways in which tribals could use natural resources available to them for generating income. The use of Moha flower was just one of them,” said Pachpute on Tuesday clarifying his stand. “I also had ideas like making bamboo furniture and teaching them to roll bidis from tendu leaves.”
Last week, Pachpute had told Hindustan Times: “We are in the primary discussion stage with tribals and manufacturers on this. We are gathering information on how this can be done.”
Pachpute had explained how flowers of the Moha tree [Bassia latifolia] yield liquor and its fruits yield oil.
He had explained that Maharashtra, which has 3.45 crore Moha trees can produce 50,000 tonnes of Moha flower and 20,000 seeds.
He had given estimates of how 1 kg of Moha flowers can produce up to 350ml of liquor and fill a 750ml standard bottle when diluted.
On Tuesday, however, Pachpute made a 360-degree turn. “I have not given any proposal of this sort,” he said. “In fact, it does not fall in my jurisdiction. Only the excise department can take a call on this.”