Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 29 (IANS) The Congress and the IUML, the main constituents of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance government in Kerala are split over banning toddy in the state.
The Congress party described the move as "unrealistic" while the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) wants toddy to be banned. The Kerala High Court recently had asked the state government to take steps to end the sale of toddy.
At a high level meeting of the IUML held here Saturday the party concluded that toddy should be banned and the state should in a phased manner go for a total prohibition.
"Its high time that the sale of toddy in the state (Kerala) be banned because in the name of toddy what is made available is spurious spirit. We fully support the observation made by the high court recently with regards to toddy and also restriction in the timings of bars in the state," IUML spokesperson and Lok Sabha member E.T. Mohammed Basheer told reporters here.
Toddy is tapped by professional tappers from either the coconut or the palm trees and after then it is given to the toddy shops in the locality and then sold to tipplers.
A 750 ml bottle of toddy from the toddy shops costs around Rs 45.
The state has 5,200 shops that sell toddy and in the current fiscal 4,100 shops have been opened after the tendering process was completed.
But speaking to reporters here, state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala however differed on closing down toddy shops and banning the sale of toddy in the state.
"The IUML's stand on liquor and toddy is quite well known and in Kerala, we do not think its going to be practical to ban toddy because as such is not harmful. With regards to the high court's observation on restriction of bar timing, the United Democratic Front will meet and discuss on this issue," said Chennithala.