Bottlers and distillers of Goa's renowned alcoholic beverage 'feni' have opposed the Pramod Sawant government's plan to levy tax on it.
It is the first time tax, announced in the state's Budget tabled in the Assembly on February 6, will be levied on the beverage made from the fermented and distilled juice of cashew apples.
Cashew Feni Distillers Association president Gurudatt Bhakta said the tax will hurt genuine bottlers and distillers and also hike prices of what is popular as the "common man's drink" in the coastal state.
"We will meet on Tuesday to discuss the new tax and may meet the state Excise commissioner. The tax has been imposed to regulate the industry, which is a welcome step, but exemption to lower priced bottles will help keep the pricing stable," Bhakta said.
Founder president of the association, Mac Vaz, who was instrumental in getting Geographical Indication (GI) for feni, said it is the first time tax has been levied on the "heritage spirit of Goa" and asked the Sawant government to follow the steps taken by neighbouring Maharashtra to support its wine sector.
Vaz admitted that a few players were spoiling the market by selling "compromised spirit" as feni at exorbitant prices.
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