Patna: To discourage consumption of toddy, the Bihar government is commercially licensing the production of neera, a non-alcoholic drink extracted from sap of palm trees.
Once fermented, the liquid turns into toddy.
The governmentâs requirements for issue of licence has, however, attracted all the attention.
[blurb]Toddy-tapping has long been associated with Pasi community, a Scheduled Caste. The government has tried to delink caste from the 'profession' with its criteria for licensing being the ability to climb palm trees.[/blurb]
All those applying for a licence have to submit to test, showing whether they can climb palm trees.
The Bihar Excise Department has been conducting the test all over the state and what is interesting is that people from other castes are also queuing to get a licence to produce neera.
While most of the applicants are from the Pasi community, educated youths from the community are happy with the governmentâs move. Some of them told News18 that the government's move has opened a new chapter them, liberating them from the infamy of toddy trade.
State Excise Superintendent Deenbandhu said that as things stand today, as against 6400 families identified to be engaged in the toddy trade in Muzaffarpur district, 4000 of them have applied from licences of which 1000 have been issued.