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Govt. allocates Rs.185 Mn for Palmyrah distilleries

17 June 2019 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The government allocated Rs.185 Million for the rehabilitation of ‘Tickkam Distilleries ‘which convert Palmyrah toddy to spirit , an official said.   
This allocation was made to replace the outdated machineries with state-of-the art modern plants, machineries and technologies. Reconstruction work has already started with two storied administrative block ( with toilet at a cost of Rs.50.77 Million excluding VAT, entrance gate and security hut at a cost of Rs.5 Million, overhead water tank, sump and pump house at a cost of Rs.5 million said the Secretary to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs V. Sivagnanasothy.    
“Tender evaluations are in progress to install the state-of-the-art modern plant, machineries and technology. The reactivation of Thickkam distilleries is expected to be completed in this year. This will address the long-felt needs and expectations of the toddy tapping community and ensure palmyrah sector development in the Northern Province,” he said.   
In Sri Lanka, most of the Palmyrah trees are found in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces. In the Northern Province alone there are about 10 million palmyrah trees. Sap based products is considered to be the most important activity in the Palmyrah palm. There are nearly 7,500 members of Palm Producer Cooperative Societies in Jaffna involved in toddy tapping. The sweet toddy and toddy are believed to have medicinal values and is considered as the 
healthy products.   
During the toddy season (February to August), the sap flow is very high and the excess toddy produced has been wasted resulting in nonrealisation of economic benefits to the tapping community. To address these problems, the Thickkam distilleries was established in 1984 to ensure the excess toddy is converted into spirit and other value-added products such as arrack, vinegar, wine, ethanol etc. This distillery has been functioning well since 1984 contributing to improve the livelihood of tapping community and the palmyrah sector .   
The 30-year-old conflict has resulted in neglect of Thickkam distilleries which gradually lead to the non-functioning of the distilleries due to neglect of maintenance, obsolete and outdated machineries and technologies and deterioration of components of the plants. As a result, the distillery products suffered in terms of its quality, and the production cost increased and unable to expand it production line beyond palmyrah arrack, according to the 
Ministry Secretary.   

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