Toddy Tapping –A lost profession

Posted on Aug 6th, 2012 and filed under Special Report.

KARKALA : Toddy tapping which was one of the main occupation of several rural people of Tulunad, is slowly becoming extinct, thanks to lack of government encouragement and modernization.

Toddy tapping which has a history of around 300 years. had also been the source of livelihood of many families. Mostly it were members of the Billawa community who resorted to toddy tapping, a profession which also has a mention in several ancient stories. Moreover, toddy is also believed to have medicinal properties, However, in the recent past, the number of toddy tappers has reduced significantly. Though many used to engage in this profession in the past as a means of livelihood, rules as of now say that a person has to seek permit to tap toddy. But, there has been a complaint that permits are not granted regularly.

If in the past tappers had to apply to the Excise Deparent,in the recent few years they are supposed to submit application to the Revenue Department. Still, the department fails to issue permit on time, complain many.

A tapper who taps toddy, then hands it over to the Society concerned by becoming its member. He is also entitled to insurance facility and is given Rs 20 per every liter of toddy. But, tappers say this price was far from suffice.

Sunder Poojari, President of the Toddy Tappers Co-operative society who points out that the number of toddy tappers was on the decline, says the government need to ensure security to the toddy tappers and also envisage steps to improve their standard of living.

© The Canara Times Group, India.