Minister opposes fruit liquor plan | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Minister opposes fruit liquor plan

The state government’s move allowing distilleries to make liquor from fruits is now finding opposition from within the government itself.

mumbai Updated: Mar 31, 2010 01:22 IST
HT Correspondent

The state government’s move allowing distilleries to make liquor from fruits is now finding opposition from within the government itself.

Excise Minister Ganesh Naik’s plans to make liquor from fruits such as cashew, jamun and chickoo are now being opposed by his party colleague, Minister of State for Prohibition, Sachin Ahir.

Both Naik and Ahir belong to the Nationalist Congress Party.

Replying to a question in the Legislative Council on Monday, Naik had said that his department was mulling to promote fruit alcohol.

Ahir on Tuesday said that the proposal, if implemented, would encourage addiction (in the state). “I don’t approve of this proposal because I think no government should encourage addiction,” Ahir told media at the Vidhan Bhavan. Naik was unavailable for comment.

The split within the NCP ministers came out in open even as Naik’s plan is receiving a lot of criticism. The Opposition parties have announced that they will oppose the plan.

The Congress-NCP government recently faced criticism over its decision to allow distilleries to make liquor from food grains such as jowar and bajra and also for providing financial assistance to cooperative factories being run by the politicians for the same. A public interest litigation was also filed in the High Court to challenge the decision.

Following the outburst, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan announced that no new permissions would be given to set up distilleries for making liquor from food grains. However, Naik on Monday said a proposal to allow fruit based alcohol was under consideration. This has not gone down well with the opposition as well as a section of ruling party leaders such as Ahir.

On an earlier occasion, Tribal Minister, Babanrao Pachpute (also from the NCP), had to shelve his proposal of encouraging tribals to make liquor from mahua flowers.