AIZAWL: The Mizoram government would soon notify rules allowing locally grown grapes to be processed as wine, excise and narcotics minister K. Beichhua told the state assembly on Tuesday.

Replying to a question from VL Zaithanzama of opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Beichhua said that grape wine rules’ have been drafted and sent to the state law and judicial department for vetting.

It will soon be notified, he said.

The draft rules have been already approved by the state council of ministers in its recent meeting.

He said that the rules will be called grape wine rules and excise duty will be levied from the locally processed grape wines. 

According to Beichhuah, the grape wine rules would allow manufacture and sale of wine processed from locally harvested grapes and no grape grown outside the state or other fruits will be allowed to be processed as wine.

He told the state legislature that all opposition parties in the state had also intimated their approval to manufacture grape wines to grape growers’ society in writing. 

Beichhuah said that the government would return bottled grape wines worth over Rs. 20 lakh seized by the Excise and Narcotics department in May to the vendors. 

Earlier in May, there was public outcry over the seizure of grape wines produced from locally harvested grapes prompting the government to not only delay The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Draft Rules, 2022 from being gazetted but also include provision or rules that allow manufacture and sale of grape wines in the state. 

The seizure was strongly reacted by  Champhai Grape Growers’ Society, which demanded the return of the seized bottled grapewines to the vendors in full quantities.

The society had also demanded that grapewines be sold freely.

Meanwhile, Champhai Grape Growers Society (CGGS) and the Baptist Church of Mizoram (BCM), the second largest church in the state, inked a third Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday for using wine manufactured in Champhai Winery by the church for sacramental wine.

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