The two US based multinational food companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co, face a great trouble in Tamil Nadu. The traders of the state have decided that henceforth they will not to sell any products of these companies.
Tamil Nadu Traders Federation, with 6000 smaller associations, will put an end to the sale of these brands from January 26, 2017. The head of the federation, Vellaiyan, said that the trade associations do not have an authority to ban these product. So, the federation will stop selling them on their own will.
Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangam will stop the sale from March 1, 2017. AM Vikramaraja, President of Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu, the largest traders outfit in Tamil Nadu, confirmed this to The Hindu newspaper. He also said that the month of February will be used to educate traders regarding the ‘evils’ of these products. One of these brands also admitted to the fact that it is harmful for children to consume. This decision was taken way back in 1998 but was unsuccessful due to the lack of public support.
This decision is dedicated to the protesters at Marina Beach. Several of them demanded a ban on these products during the Jallikattu movement. They highlighted the fact that these companies were drawing gallons of water from the Thamirabharani river. This affects the farming as the river runs dry. The students also refused to accept any product from these brands during the six day long protest.
Earlier in 2015, a report confirmed that these companies draw about 25 lakh litres of water from the Thamirabharani River every day. The Tirunelveli district, from then has been under severe drought, as this river is their source of irrigation. The Madras High Court, in November 2016, ordered the Gangaikondan SIPCOT to stop the supply of water from the Thamirabharani River to Pepsi-Co and Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co control approximately 80% of the soft drink market in India. In October 2016, Coca-Cola announced that sale of the soft drink products went down by 4% in Q3 after the introduction of packed non-fizzy beverages like lassi, aam panna etc.
The farmers welcomed the decision to stop the sale of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co. The small business outfits are also supporting this decision taken by the trade associations.