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Now, liquor from jamun too?

Its idea of supporting distilleries producing alcohol from food grain drew flak.

mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2010 01:35 IST
HT Correspondent

Its idea of supporting distilleries producing alcohol from food grain drew flak.

But that has not stopped the state government from coming up with other ideas to boost liquor production in the state.

The government is now contemplating allowing liquor to be made from fruits like cashew, jamun and chickoo. “The state government has received a proposal for making liquor from cashewnut, jambhul and chickoo and we are considering it,” Excise Minister, Ganesh Naik, said in the Legislative Council on Monday.

Nationalist Congress Party legislator, Arun Gujrathi, raised the issue of making liquor from food grain and asked whether the state government plans to give licences to new distilleries. “The government is not giving licences to new distilleries in the state after August 20, 2008,” Naik added.

This is not the first time that the state government has expressed interest in allowing distilleries to make liquor in non-conventional ways.

In 2008, the government issued licences and assured financial support to distilleries making liquor from jowar, bajra and maize. This attracted a lot of criticism mainly because most of these distilleries were owned or promoted by politicians, including son of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Amit.

A public interest litigation challenging state subsidies to these distilleries was filed in the high court.

The government said it will not provide more funds to these distilleries and or grant licences although plans of making alcohol from food grain were on.

The new proposal is also likely to run into trouble. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Council, Eknath Khadse, has already announced his party’s intention to stall the move.