Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said that alcohol made from mahua flower will be sold as heritage liquor in the state under the new excise policy, ANI reported. The sale or consumption of mahua was illegal till date.

“The government is devising an excise policy under which if anyone makes liquor made of mahua in [the] traditional way, it will not be illegal anymore,” said Chouhan. “It will be sold in the liquor shops in the name of “heritage liquor” which would be a source of employment and income for the tribal people who have been making and consuming it.”

The Congress criticised the state for legalising mahua by calling it Bharatiya Janata Party’s moral decline, ANI reported. Congress spokesperson KK Mishra said that it was unfortunate that the government was thinking of legalising “kacchi sharab [country liquor]”.

Meanwhile, the chief minister also said that the tribals will have the right to community forests, where they could plant trees and decide what to do with the wood and fruits, NDTV reported.

Chouhan announced that false and minor cases against persons from the tribal community will be withdrawn. He added that the government was thinking of granting the tribals the right to sell tendu leaves as well. Tendu leaves are used for wrapping bidi (Indian smoking tobacco).