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New-age trappings tank toddy times at Khajaguda

S. Sandeep Kumar
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Real estate boom has changed the topography

Space constraint:There were nearly 1,500 toddy palm trees in Khajaguda but over 600 of them were cut to facilitate construction of buildings for corporate firms and spacious villas.- PHOTO: G. RAMAKRISHNA
Space constraint:There were nearly 1,500 toddy palm trees in Khajaguda but over 600 of them were cut to facilitate construction of buildings for corporate firms and spacious villas.- PHOTO: G. RAMAKRISHNA

It’s an area replete with high-rise corporate buildings, spacious villas, gated communities and international schools.

But, a visit to Khajaguda takes one back to the good-old times.

Amid all that exemplifies the new-age, toddy tappers hold their own, selling the ferment in earthen pots, right on the wayside.

Makeshift huts

At the crack of dawn, many toddy sellers set up makeshift palm-leaf huts and wait for the arrival of customers. The business goes on till late in the evening.

“On Sundays and holidays, it is even better. People from other areas of the city come to us to consume toddy. It is like a recreation activity for most, and at times the stock is sold out by afternoon,” says Mallesh Goud, a toddy seller, whose family has been into the business for three generations.

A 500 ml pot is sold for Rs. 25. While most prefer to consume the ferment right there, a few carry it away in bottles.

But for the last few years, this business has taken a beating and the number of toddy sellers in the area has been dwindling. Ever since the real estate boom changed the topography of Khajaguda and Nanakramguda areas, many toddy palm trees had to make way for high-rise structures.

People used to enjoy consuming toddy amid the serene ambience but that’s not the case any more. There were about 1,500 toddy palm trees in Khajaguda but over 600 of them were cut in the last couple of years to facilitate construction of buildings for big corporate firms and spacious villas, laments T. Mallikarjun Goud, president of the Khajaguda Kallugita Karmika Sangam.

“It is not just the trees that were chopped but the livelihood of many people, who were dependent on them,” says Mr. Goud. Given the changing lifestyles and dwindling business, most toddy tappers are having their wards look elsewhere for a livelihood. This is the case across the State and the scene is the worst here, he adds.

While toddy tappers at Khajaguda hold their own amid a real estate boom, the serene setting and thriving business may soon be a relic of the past


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