19 September, 2020

Evening Of The Brew?

The HC wants toddy shops to close shop

Madhu Kapparath
Evening Of The Brew?

The roads winding through rural Kerala are largely unnamed, but marked intermittently by boards bearing the seductive word ‘kallu’, Malayalam for toddy. Little wooden shacks serving the sweet-sour brew—fermented from sap drawn from the inflorescence of the coconut palm—have been part of the rural landscape and social fabric of the state for centuries. So people were surprised when the Kerala High Court opined that toddy brewing and sale should stop and urged the state government to bring its wish into effect by the next fiscal year. A division bench of Justices C.N. Ramachandran Nair and Bhabani Prasad Ray wants the state liberated from the “disgraceful business”: it says very little toddy is brewed, and considering Kerala’s high liquor consumption, toddy shops are a guise for selling spurious liquor.

Most parties, barring the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), oppose a ban and the political chorus of protest has reached a crescendo. For the court’s view threatens the livelihood of about 1 lakh toddy-tappers, registered and...



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