Madikeri: Zilla Panchayat to Seek Withdrawal of Excise Restrictions on Home-made Wine

Madikeri: Home-made wine, with ingredients ranging from wheat, rice, grapes, betel leaves and curry leaves to an assortment of other flavours is being made at homes in Kodagu. This range of wine is very popular with tourists, visitors and holidayers in homestays.

However, in recent times, spurious wine was being made by a very few suppliers. This caused health issues for visitors from outside the state. As a result the image of all wine-makers has been affected.

Since some of those who were affected by spurious wine complained to the department of tourism, recently the excise department stepped in and issued a notification prohibiting the making of wine in homes.

Consequently, suppliers of genuine wine, women in particular, have suffered. Some of them depended solely on wine-making as a regular source of income, which gave them a sense of financial security by way of self-reliance.

The matter came for discussion at the general session of the Kodagu zilla panchayat held in the fort auditorium last week. Vice president Allaranda Beena Bollamma said that wine made in homes was hygienic and of high quality. Hence there was high demand for wine made in homes in Kodagu.

She also said that it was not proper on the part of departments of excise and tourism to have prohibited the trade without sufficient notice. The order snatched away the element of self-reliance from women. She said that both the departments had to reconsider their decisions.

Social justice standing committee chairperson Bond Ganapati and education and health standing committee chairperson B B Bharatish said that it was meaningless to impose any restrictions on making of wine at home. Quality assurance and health safety aspects should be studied and the production be permitted.

ZP chief Chodumada Shareen Subbaiah said that the economic activity of the district had been hampered by the order. No restrictions on wine-making should be imposed. A letter seeking withdrawal of the order would be sent to the departments concerned, she assured.

Assistant director of tourism V Phaneesh said that in the interests of the visitors, the sale of home-made wine had been stopped by an official order. He pointed out that the order apart, there was still scope for sale of genuine wine in the district, provided a licence was obtained from the department of excise.

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