Often, it’s a short cross-border walk from Tamil Nadu to a Kerala toddy shop
They cross the border in search of a drink, armed with a bag of rice. That is the commodity used by many people in areas bordering Kerala these days – bartering free or subsidised PDS rice from Tamil Nadu for toddy.
With a large number of liquor shops of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) shut after the recent Supreme Court order, drinkers around places like Pollachi and Walayar have found a way out. They buy a litre of toddy from Kerala with just 2 kg of rice got under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Following the court order, 536 out of 840 TASMAC outlets are closed. Of these, just under half were on State Highways and the rest along National Highways.
Toddy shops across the border from Tamil Nadu now attract scores of people. Alcohol in Kerala bars is strictly regulated, and many liquor outlets have closed down, making toddy the alternative.
A litre of toddy costs around ₹40 and the shops prefer rice as payment. They polish and sell it in the market for a higher price. Two kg of PDS rice bought for a few rupees has made it easy for the people to just step across the border for a drink, and walk or cycle back home, police say.