Goa legislators, irrespective of party affiliation, have backed Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar's proposal to make feni, a popular local alcoholic drink distilled from cashew juice, the state heritage drink.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, a day after Parsekar outlined his plan, PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said feni was good for health and its status as a state heritage drink was an "excellent idea".
"Liquor is separate, feni is separate. Feni is available only in Goa, the way cashew nuts were available in Goa, but are now a fad all over India. People take feni for good health also. Usually this drink is available in this monsoon, but it is very popular all over the world, " Dhavalikar said.
Cashew feni is distilled from fermented juice extracted from the cashew apple and is a popular alcoholic beverage in Goa. A similar process is also used to distill coconut feni from palm toddy.
The opposition Congress, too, congratulated Parsekar for bestowing the state heritage drink status upon feni.
"It is a good decision. Goa is known for its feni and it is unique to the state, " said Congress MLA from Cumbharjua Pandurang Madkaikar.
Parsekar also said that feni was not just an alcoholic drink but also has medicinal value.
"Feni is not just a liquor, not just a spirit, not just an alcohol. . . it has medicinal value also. It needs to have special status and our government, after thinking about it, has declared it as a state heritage drink, " he said.