Unsold Stocks, Unpaid Dues: Alirajpur SHG Producing Heritage Mahua Liquor Shutters Plant

Unsold Stocks, Unpaid Dues: Alirajpur SHG Producing Heritage Mahua Liquor Shutters Plant

Despite excise duty, VAT waiver, tipplers find it too costly at Rs 880 per bottle

SmitaUpdated: Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 12:23 AM IST
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BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Unsold stocks and unpaid dues have forced SHG of Adivasis manufacturing Heritage Mahua liquor in Madhya Pradesh to cease production. The Hanuman Swayam Sahayata Samooh, based in Kathiwada Block of Alirajpur district, manufactures Mahua liquor under the brand name ëMondí.

A payment of Rs 10 lakh to the SHG by the State Excise Department has been pending since last year and it has huge unsold stocks of 750-ml bottles of 'Mond', leading to halt in production.

Last year in January, the state government had amended the Excise Act, allowing SHGs of Adivasis to manufacture liquor made by fermenting Mahua flowers. A special category of 'Heritage Liquor' was created under the Act for the purpose.

The government had also waived Excise Duty and VAT on 'Heritage Liquor'. The MPTDC hotels were asked to offer one peg of Mahua liquor free to guests as part of promotion. Also, all liquor outlets have been directed to stock it.

Under the new policy, two SHGs, one of Bhilala Adivasis in Alirajpur district and another of Gond Adivasis in Dindori district, were provided cent per cent funding for installing plants of 1000-litre capacity per day for producing Mahua liquor. The Alirajpur brand was named ëMondí and the Dindori brand, Mohulo. The 750-ml bottles of both are priced at Rs 880 and 180-ml bottles at Rs 200.

The plants were established using tech provided by Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSS), Pune and the Mond and Mahulo comply with FSSAI norms for alcoholic beverages.

The SHGs were supposed to channelise their products for sale through the excise department. 'We send our stocks to the excise warehouse, from where it is marketed,' said Ankita Bhabhr from Hanuman Swayam Sahayata Samooh. Ankita was in the city to man a stall set up at the Mahua Utsav, organised by the State Tribal Museum to celebrate its 11th Foundation Day.

'We brought 2 boxes (each containing 12 bottles of 750ml) to Bhopal and both were sold off,' she said. One box was purchased by MPTDC' Palash Residency.

In Alirajpur, however, the SHG is facing problems. The 180-ml bottles are finding ready buyers but not the 750-ml ones. 'Customers say Rs. 850 is too high a price for a bottle of country liquor,' Ankita said.

The group had managed to sell around 300 boxes of 750-ml bottles between October and November 2023. 'But we have received only Rs 22 lakhs against the total dues of Rs 33 lakhs,' she added.

The SHG is trying to improve the packaging to boost sales. Better quality glass bottles are proposed to replace the current ones and the label would be made more attractive.

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