HYDERABAD: A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the High Court questioning the permission by the Telangana government for re-establishment of toddy shops in the city after a gap of 10 years.
The petitioners, who included Prof PL Vishweshwar Rao, former IAS officer M Chaya Ratan and two others, submitted that the current system of toddy sale was neither for the benefit of the common man nor for the toddy-tappers but only for middlemen who make large quantity of unhealthy drink called ‘Kallu’ (toddy) by adulterating with harmful substances. Consumption of adulterated toddy had led to several deaths and witnessed the cases of mentally deranged persons, they said and recalled that the previous government had not permitted toddy shops in Hyderabad since 2004 for want of required trees within 50-km radius.
To the surprise of the citizens of the city, the present government issued orders, vide GO Ms No.24 dated Sept 4, 2014, facilitating re-establishment of toddy shops in GHMC limits. Licences can now be granted for toddy shops even if the trees and tappers are situated beyond 50 km distance, the petitioners said.
They contended that the impugned GO making changes to the AP Excise Rules 2007 was totally illegal and arbitrary. Despite protests by the locals several toddy shops have been set up in the midst of residential colonies making the lives of children and women difficult. The petitioners requested the court to set aside the impugned GO and to direct the authorities to close all the toddy shops where people are opposing and not to permit setting up of new toddy shops in the city.