PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thuirsday ordered for preparation of a comprehensive action plan on industries related to the pre-fermentation version of palm tree juice (neera), after Agricultural scientists from Tamil Nadu showed him about products that can be made from it.
The Tamil Nadu Agriculture University team led by its former Dean (Horticulture) V Punnuswami gave a presentation of food items like jaggery, candy, honey and other products that could be manufactured from ‘neera’ (palm tree juice before fermentation) and ‘toddy’ (after fermentation), an official release said Patna.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be signed between the southern university and Bihar Agriculture University at Sabour in Bhagalpur to work together.
An entrepreneur D Subratha Devi from Tuticorin engaged with Neera trade also shared her experience on the occasion.
Following the presentation, Mr Kumar ordered officials to prepare an action plan on industries related to Neera, the release said.
The CM said the number of palm trees in the state and the amount of ‘neera’ produced from them should be ascertained while preparing the action plan.
While announcing complete ban on sale and manufacture of alcohol in the state on April 5, Mr Kumar had made it clear that sale of ‘toddy’ would be permitted in accordance with a 1991 guideline, but plans would be made for commercially harnessing ‘neera’ which does not contain alcohol.
He had said Bihar will follow Tamil Nadu which has the maximum number of palm trees in the country and the state has successfully exploited neera and toddy juice to manufacture items which enhanced income of people involved with the trade.
Opposition parties created a hue and cry alleging that the income of Pasi community traditionally engaged with toddy trade would be hard bit.
However, Mr Kumar then said, state government would work out a plan to increase income of toddy traders by selling products made out of neera.
Industries Minister Jai Kumar Singh and senior government officers were present during the presentation.