The Goa government on Monday introduced a Bill amending the Excise Act, which will give the state's traditional liquor, 'feni', the tag of a "heritage spirit" and also make certain areas 'no alcohol consumption zones'.
The Bill was introduced by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar during the ongoing State Legislative Assembly session which will amend Goa Excise Duty Act, 1964 so as to define the term 'feni' as a "heritage spirit". In the Statement of Objects and Reasons, Parsekar said Goa government has decided to separately define 'feni' and establish its unique and well deserving status by declaring this liquor as the "Heritage Spirit of Goa".
Introducing the amendment, the draft bill recalls that feni has multifaceted use in cultural traditions, cuisines, medical purpose and others which is synonymous to the Goan identity. Government has said the objective of the amendment is to reach out the Geographical Indications (GI) to the primary and traditional stakeholders. It will also enable trade in world markets and position it on equal footing with other liquor like 'Scotch whisky' and 'tequila'.
The draft bill also seeks to amend a sub-section which will seek to empower the government to declare a space, place, area in the state as "no alcohol consumption zone".
"Government is receiving a number of complaints of consumption of liquor in open spaces, public places, beaches, public roads, State and National highways; mostly by visiting tourists," the bill reads.
"Upon consumption of liquor, the bottles and cans are strewn around causing environmental degradation and causing harm to pedestrians accessing the area," it adds. "Such persons after being in an inebriated state, cause nuisance to general public, disturb the peaceful order in the area and cause local tension, thereby posing a law and order situation on regular basis," the draft bill mentions.