Reconsider ban on Mahua flower trade: HC to Govt

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Mar 2017 10:31:05

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has directed the State Government to take speedy decision about lifting ban on the trade of Mahua flowers as recommended by the committee constituted by State Government. A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Indira Jain while hearing petitions filed by Dr Shantilal Kothari, Chairman of Academy of Nutrition Improvement and Babulal Turkar demanding lifting of ban on Mhowra (Mahua) flowers, directed the state to reconsider the ban in the light of this recommendation and consider the issue with the urgency that it requires.

The next hearing is slated on April 6. Government Pleader Bharti Dangre informed the High Court that one of the recommendations of the high-level committee was about lifting the ban on the trade of Mhowra Flowers. She, however, submitted that for the said purpose, the amendment to the rules framed under the Bombay Prohibition Act would be necessary. During earlier hearings, the High Court had issued notice to Advocate General since validity of the Rules framed under the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 are under challenge in this petition.

The petitioners claimed that the Mhowra Flower is not of nutritious value. On account of ban in trade, most of the Mhowra Flowers are being exported to the neighbouring States where there is no such ban. Due to this ban, there is a substantial loss to the farmers, tribals and other people residing in the rural areas. Apart from the petition, there was a demand from a section of legislators also to allow liquor production from the Mahua flower which would provide tribals a livelihood and financially empower them.

According to tribal belt legislators, the State had earlier adopted a policy to promote liquor manufacturing from foodgrain and molasses and wineries while making a demand to appoint a study group to examine a similar policy for Mahua flowers. Liquor manufactured from Mahua flowers is also known as herbal liquor.

Even during last regime, then Tribal Development Minister Babanrao Pachpute had floated the idea to manufacture liquor from Mahua flowers. Adv Anil Kilor (Dr Kothari), Adv Mukesh Samarth (Babular Turkar) appeared for the petitioners. Government Pleader Bharti Dangre (State), Adv Mugdha Chandurkar (Union) represented respondents.