Toddy business which was termed ‘disgraceful’ by the Kerala High Court the other day, is disgraceful in terms of real business too when compared with the sales of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) if one goes by the sales figures registered during the last Onam season.
The total revenue to the state government from toddy sale in a financial year is peanuts compared to a single day’s business of IMFL last month.
While toddy could earn a meagre Rs 20 crore in 2011-12 fiscal year, the total sales recorded this year on Thiruvonam day alone at the outlets of the Beverages Corporation across the state was Rs 25.71.
However, this was a lean day compared to the days preceding and following Thiruvonam, as August 28 recorded a sale of Rs 42.28 crore while August 30 earned Rs 32.16 crore. The sale of foreign liquor through Bevco outlets in just three days in the season was around Rs 100.15crore. This is in addition to the sales of liquor in the bar hotels during the period. Toddy cuts a more sorry figure while recalling its ‘golden past’ a decade ago when it earned a revenue of Rs 140 crore in the 2000-01 financial year.
Even without any promotional activity, the sale of beer which contributed just Rs 28.93 crore in the same period reached Rs 85.19 crore as per the last published records in 2009-10. IMFL which had a sales of `72.19 crore in 2000-01 jumped to Rs 188.03 crore in 2009-10.
“Most of the toddy shops are surviving on the tasty ethnic food they offer,” opines K Achuthan MLA from Chittoor, an area in Palakkad which produces the largest amount of toddy in the state. According to the senior Congress leader both arrack and toddy are different in its nature.
“It is true that arrack had some negative impact on the society. But toddy is a healthy drink, belongs to the traditional sector of the state. While considering the social conditions the state government cannot impose a ban on the toddy as it did in the case of arrack a decade back,” he said.