Mancherial: Toddy, locally known as Thellakallu, remains to be the favourite drink ever for tipplers even after a wide range of international alcohol brands are available in market. Thanks to its medicinal and nutritional values and affordable price. It is often consumed by those who don’t drink liquor at all. It is savoured by women as well. In a few particular sections of the society, it is accepted by all. This ingenious yet natural drink is largely tapped by members of Gouda community from palm trees between the months of December to May of a year. Palm trees are called as thati or eetha chettu. Significantly, certain boozers have shifted from Indian Made Foreign liquor (IML) to the toddy.
According to tappers community, a litre of toddy is priced somewhere between Rs 50 and Rs 70. They sell this drink by paying certain amount to local co-operative societies formed by members of Gouda community. Incidentally, the erstwhile Adilabad district has nearly a lakh palm trees grown on the shores of rivulets, tanks and some barren lands.
“Unlike IML, toddy is not injurious to health because its a natural drink tapped from palm trees found in this region. It contains minerals, calcium, iron and some nutritional values. Its price is reasonable when compared to distilled alcohol. It is the favourite drink of not just the tipplers, but general public including women and children,” Gajula Mukesh Goud, Vice- President of Telangana Gouda Sangham, said.
Many believe that consumption of this drink can melt stones formed in kidneys and ease digestion process. But, this has not been scientifically proved yet. In the ancient times, it was used for curing jaundice also. However, people take this drink keeping the benefits also in mind. Traditionally, they had it when worshipping local deities namely Yellamma, Pochamma and Renuka Devi after offering it to these goddesses.
However, a section of tappers indulge in adulteration of the today in order to earn profits in short-cut ways. As a result, consumers fall ill after taking it. But, excise and prohibition officials clampdown this menace by frequently inspecting these outlets, crack whip against offenders.
“Around 25 to 30 lakh members of Gouda community rely on this profession of tapping toddy in Telangana. Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Warangal district account for a major proportion of tappers. Adilabad, Nizamabad and Mahaboobnagar districts, Kallu Geetha Karmeekula Sangham, State general secretary Puli Laxmipathi Goud said.