Hyderabad: K.T. Rama Rao,working president of Telangana Rashtra Samithi laid foundation of Telangana’s very first ‘Neera Cafe’ at Necklace Road on Thursday. The event was conducted at a smaller scale due to COVID-19.
The drink, Neera, is extracted from toddy palm. Neera extraction is generally performed before sunrise. It is sweet, translucent in colour. It is susceptible to natural fermentation at ambient temperature within a few hours of extraction. Once fermented, Neera becomes toddy.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Minister KT Rama Rao, son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, said “The Neera Cafe is set to come up in the central part of Hyderabad. It will be a symbol of identity assertion for members of the Goud community (toddy tapper community).”
“The Neera stalls may cost Rs 4 or 5 crore, but they are a symbol of identity… I believe once people taste it and understand its health benefits, Neera will become a popular drink, and many stalls will come up in the state to benefit workers,” KTR said.
Earlier in October, the Telangana government had announced that it would soon open Neera stalls across the state, starting with Hyderabad. Food items are also likely to be sold at the stalls, and more such stalls are expected to come up along the Outer Ring Road.
Several leaders from the Goud community were present at the event. The move is intended towards providing a livelihood for members of toddy tapper communities. Licenses for production and sale of Neera will be given to members of the Goud community alone.
Speaking at the event, Excise Minister Srinivas Goud said that the Neera Cafe will be a symbol of pride and self-esteem for the Goud or toddy tapping community. “Earlier, many people from our community would not be able to show toddy shops as our occupation, as it was considered a cheap drink. Now, people will come in a Benz car to drink in this spectacular stall,” Srinivas Goud said. “People may wonder if this can help Gouds in becoming millionaires. But this is not about wealth, it is about self-esteem,” he added.