Hyderabad: A new indigenous soft drink may hit the market if the government’s proposal bears fruit.
Efforts are on to extract ‘neera’ from toddy trees and subject it to different exposures and bottle it as another soft drink to appeal the palate of consumers.
An official committee visited Maharashtra and Gujarat states where the ‘neera’ soft drink is already sold.
The report is awaited. The team is also likely to visit Kerala and Tamil Nadu also for further study.
The objective is to open manufacturing units which would generate employment among the toddy tappers and their families, informed Minister for Excise and Prohibition Mopidevi Venkataramana to media persons at the Secretariat on Monday, adding that toddy extraction from the trees had been taking its toll on the tappers who have suffered injuries or even lost their lives while doing so.
Mr Venkataramana informed that with an allotted budget of Rs 2.71 crore for 2011—12, cheques for Rs 11.8 lakh were issued to disburse the amount in nine accident cases which occurred in Nalgonda district.
The Minister informed that the cheques were issued to the kin of five workers who lost their lives and four others who were handicapped while working on the trees.
Mr Venkataramana informed that Rs 2 lakh was given to deceased’s families, Rs 50,000 to the permanently handicapped and Rs 30,000 to the temporarily handicapped.
“So far in the state, 61 deaths have been reported and 380 persons have sustained injuries rendering them handicapped, 159 temporarily and 221 permanently,” the Minister said.
He added that as many as 45 new wine shops will come up in the city shortly and 13 more are in the offing.
Later, AP Toddy Tappers’ Cooperative Federation former director Gundu Krishnamurthy confirmed having disbursed the cheques today to the kin of those died or rendered handicapped.(INN)