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Pitch for rollback in price hike of Feni and port wine

Panaji: Minister for Waste Management and Ports Michael Lobo on Friday said that he will request Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to bring down the hike in the prices of Feni and port wine, the traditional Goan drinks.

Sawant, presenting his maiden budget earlier this month, had announced a hike in excise duties and fee on the sale of liquor, with the hikes ranging from 20 per cent to 50 per cent for all categories of liquor, and further imposed tax on the MRP of local brew Feni.

As a result, the liquor is set to cost more from April 1 in Goa.

The Goa Liquor Traders Association feared that the increased prices of liquor would lead to a decrease in sales which, rather than helping the government augment revenues will fall way short of the Rs 100 crore additional revenue that the state hopes to earn from the proposed increase.

Lobo, reacting to this hike had tweeted, “I will speak with Hon CM @DrPramodPSawant to consider reducing tax on wines used for weddings or traditional functions and also on our local cashew and coconut Feni.”

Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Lobo said that Feni is the trademark of Goa, and tourists visiting Goa take it back as a souvenir to present it to friends and relatives.

“It is not a heavily consumed drink, as also assigned a Geographical Indication (GI) certificate,” he added, pointing out that a maximum hike on Feni should be Rs 5 to Rs 10 per bottle, and not beyond it.

The minister said the government should also not increase the price of port wine exorbitantly as it is used for toast at the Catholic wedding receptions, and sometimes Hindu weddings receptions too.

“The port wine is also not consumed heavily,” he observed, maintaining that there are many brands of port wines like Vinicola and San Andre, which are produced and consumed locally.

The local manufacturers of Feni and port wine should also not feel pressure of hike in the prices of these brews.

Lobo also said the government can hike the prices of other liquors but they should be still cheaper than those available in other states.   

Goa Forward Party president and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai had also questioned the rationale behind levying tax on Feni.

He replied to the tweet of Lobo as: “Whose idea was it to tax the heritage drink, which has GI? Did it come as a suggestion from the pre-budget online suggestions that the Govt sought? Or was it an original idea by the head of the Govt? #Goa needs to know!”

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