Economy

Tappers heave a sigh of relief as government allows parcel sales of toddy

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on May 30, 2021

The shops are allowed to carry parcel sales between 8 am to 7 pm

A decision by the Kerala Government to allow toddy shops to open shutters for parcel sales has brought some relief to 25,000-odd tappers in the State.

As part of easing the lockdown restrictions, the government has permitted toddy shops to carry out parcel sales between 8 am to 7 pm subject to strict adherence to Covid protocols. “This is a huge relief for us as parcel sales during the lockdown period, which we had requested for, will bring down the losses”, V.K.Ajith Babu, general secretary, Toddy Shop Licensee Association told BusinessLine.

Shop owners are expecting to garner 70-80 per cent sales through parcels, especially after closure of bars and Indian Made Foreign Liquor outlets. Besides, he said that the government decision would pave the way to control illicit liquor sales, which is rampant in the State following the ban on liquor.

Earlier, BusinessLine had reported the plight of toddy workers and how the situation had forced them to dump 4 lakh litres of extracted toddy in the open daily, following closure of shops since April 26. Tappers had to do this to keep the extraction from the palms so as to ensure health of the palms. It is not possible for tappers to keep away from their daily work as the extraction of toddy is a long-drawn process and requires at least six months for making the tree ready for tapping.

However, Ajith Babu said that toddy business is not a viable proposition for shop owners now, considering the meagre revenue earnings, especially after the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act in the State. Against a selling price of ₹150 per litre, he said the production cost alone would come at ₹118 per litre for tappers, besides various other expenses such as wages to workers in toddy shops, building rent and electricity charges.

The association has requested the government to revise the selling price of liquor considering the high cost involved in production of the brew. There are around 4,500 toddy shops in Kerala and the lockdown incurred each shop a loss of about ₹2,500 per day, he said.

Published on May 30, 2021

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