Maharashtra Minister moots 'herbal liquor' to help tribals

Pachpute said the idea was at the level of "primary discussion" with tribals and manufacturers. "We are getting information on how it can be implemented," he added.
The idea involves facilitating moha liquor manufacturing by providing nets to tribals, collecting flowers and selling bottled 'herbal liquor'.
Flowers of the moha or mahua tree yield liquor and its fruit yield oil. There are around 3.45 crore moha trees in Maharashtra, which can produce 50,000 tonnes of moha flower and 20,000 seeds.
A Forest Minister till last month, Pachpute has worked out the arithmetic of the herbal liquor making set-up. "Around a kg of moha flowers can produce up to 350 ml of liquor and fill a 750 ml standard liquor bottle when diluted," he said.
However, the idea has not gone down well with the Opposition.
"Pachpute should come up with other ways for welfare of tribals. For tribals, what matters is education and checking malnutrition," Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said.
Pachpute, senior NCP leader, is not the only minister to have come up with such an "out-of-the-box" concept.
In 2004, then Excise Minister Ganesh Naik, also from the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, had said issuing country liquor shop licences to bootleggers would help check bootlegging.
However, Pachpute does not want his idea to be compared with that of Naik. "The model will really help improve tribals' livelihood," he said.

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