Traders in Tamil Nadu have decided that they will not sell soft drinks manufactured by Multinational Companies (MNCs) from 1 March, and promote only Indian brands, The Hindu reported today. The decision comes in the aftermath of the massive Jallikattu protests which recently rocked the state.
Many people who made the Jallikattu protests about preserving the local culture had also lashed out at PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), headquartered in the United States, and American brands such as Pepsi and Coke.
"They (soft drinks) cause more harm than good to the body. Only recently, one of the brands had admitted to the fact that it was not suitable for children and that it contained certain harmful chemicals," said A.M. Vikramaraja, president of Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (a trader's collective).
"Pepsi and Coca-Cola are taking water from Thamirabharani river in Tirunelveli because of which farmers have no water for irrigation, he said, IB Times reported.
Peramaippu, with 6,000 affiliated member associations and 15.87 lakh members, will spend February educating traders and consumers about the alleged ills of the foreign brands. It will also ask restaurants and hotels too to not sell these brands.
Vikramaraja told the The Hindu Peramaippu traders has been fighting against Kinley and Pepsico had been going on since 1998, but the demand by youngsters to ban soft drinks which surfaced in the recent Jallikattu protests had renewed their resolve. "Encouraged by that, we are taking this campaign forward," he said.
At the heigh of the agitation, several protestors at Marina beach had also asked for a ban on Pepsi and Coke. In Coimbatore, young people smashed bottles of cold drinks. India Today had previously reported that some food joints and hotel chains had also refused to serve Coke and Pepsi.
Even if Coke and Pepsi could not be banned, protestors argued that in light of the serious questions about its impact on health, the state should regulate its sale.
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