The closure of liquor shops and bars during the lockdown is said to have been a reason for an increase in the demand for toddy
with added punch in parts of Palakkad bordering Thrissur district.
The increased demand for the toddy with a higher amount of alcohol apparently drove some toddy shop licencees to procure spirit from Tamil Nadu and mix it with toddy.
Spirit in large quantities has been available in Tamil Nadu, and a huge quantity was said to have been smuggled into Palakkad during the lockdown.
The seizure of 1,435 litres of spirit and 2,000 litres of fake toddy from a godown near Vadakkanchery on Sunday by the Excise
State Enforcement Squad was the fallout of a frenzied adulteration business prompted by a higher demand for the strong toddy.
A lot of tipplers had apparently turned to punchy toddy because of the restrictions on bars and the sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). The failure of the Excise intelligence wing in Palakkad in detecting the thriving adulteration business under the guise of multiple toddy shops brought egg on the department’s face when the State Enforcement Squad swooped on the culprits in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday.
The amount of alcohol in natural toddy will be between 10 and 12 per cent. However, for a tippler who is used to beverages with more than 40 per cent alcohol volume, toddy will be a child’s play.
Spirit with more than 97 per cent alcohol in it is added to the toddy in a desirable quantity to make it punchy.
Sources in toddy industry say that those engaged in adulteration business often add two litres of spirit to 200 litres of toddy.
“This 1:100 equation can take the natural toddy to a higher spirited level, giving the consumer an instant kick. The alcohol volume in such toddy easily goes above 20 per cent,” said a retired toddy tapper.
Excise officials pointed out some difference in the nature of toddy consumers in the western and eastern parts of Palakkad. When labourers in the eastern part of the district have been happy with the natural toddy produced from the Chittur region, those in the western part of the district bordering Thrissur have been demanding more punch.
“We don’t know why it is so. But we could observe such a difference,” said an Excise inspector. His words were testimony to the massive toddy adulteration found in Alathur range bordering Thrissur.
The existing laws stipulate that the toddy coming from Chittur should go directly to shops, and there should not be any transit points.
However, those engaged in the adulteration business direct the toddy vehicle to their godown, where they add spirit to it. Fake toddy is also made by adding sugar and yeast. According to the Excise Commissioner, the toddy adulteration, if not checked, can lead to
disasters in the State.