Panaji, Nov 24 : Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday denied any efforts to alter the process of auctioning of cashew plantations in the state, which the Opposition as well as feni distillers had alleged as a conspiracy to corporatise and facilitate mass production of Goa's heritage drink.
"No one needs to worry. The old practice of (making) cashew feni will continue," the Chief Minister told reporters here.
On Monday, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat as well as feni distillers in Goa had accused the Goa government of trying to 'corporatise' feni manufacture in the state, by trying to alter the state excise laws dealing with country liquor, in order to facilitate mass manufacture.
One of the changes in the excise laws, Kamat had said was the cancellation of auctioning of government-owned cashew plantations, from where the raw source of feni, cashew apples are harvested from.
Sawant however has maintained that the "government has no such plans to make any changes in the existing process".
He also maintained that cashew farmers should not believe in "such rumours", which Sawant said had been "created by mischievous elements".
Cashew feni is distilled from fermented juice extracted from the cashew apple and is a popular alcoholic beverage in Goa. The cashew apple is harvested from orchards by farmers, who lease the tracts from the government every season.
The juice from the apples is then fermented and distilled using traditional equipment. A similar process is also used to distill coconut feni from palm toddy.
Cashew feni is also the country's first indigenous liquor to obtain the Geographical Indication tag.
In 2016, the Goa government had passed amendment to the state excise law, elevating feni, a popular locally brewed cashew-based alcohol, to the status of a heritage spirit, bringing it on par with scotch whisky and tequila.
-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text