As planned in January 2017, thousands of commercial outlets across Tamil Nadu launched a boycott of PepsiCo and Coca Cola products yesterday in a move to encourage local cola manufacturers.
Traders in Chennai have decided to not sell mineral water brands and popular soft drinks of multinational corporations. They will, instead, encourage people to use Indian brands.
A trader’s association told Mint, “Most of the small traders have already boycotted; bigger shops still continue to sell. It will take few more days to assess the actual impact. So far, it has been good and we would continue to campaign against the products.”
The Indian Beverage Association (IBA) issued a statement saying it was “deeply disappointed” with the move. It said, “This call is against the proven fundamentals of robust economic growth and against the clarion call of Making in India. The boycott call also violates the rights of the consumer to exercise choice.”
According to Vikrama Raja, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu President, the whole of February was spent on educating consumers and traders about the evils of foreign brands. He argued that these alien brands cause more harm to the body than good, and one of the companies had admitted that it was not suitable for children to consume drinks as they contain certain harmful chemicals.
Mr. Raja stated that 6,000 affiliated member associations and 15.87 lakh members had been fighting Pepsico and Kinley since 1998. They were not able to stop them as there were demands from consumers.
The campaign was essentially initiated during the Jallikattu protests when studentssought a ban on these soft drinks as the companies draw out groundwater and mint profits outside the country.
The restaurants and hotels are being asked to not sell these brands. Milk dealers will also not be selling milk manufactured by particular MNCs.
Recent HC ruling
A Madras High Court bench headed by Justice MV Muralidharan and S Nagamuthu, on November 21, 2016, ordered SIPCOT (the State Industrial Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu) to not supply water to Pepsi and Coca Cola, which draws out several lakh litres of water from Thamirabarani river.
This decision was welcomed by farmers and activists of the region who had been fighting a battle with companies and the government. The argument was that when the farmers of the state are bearing the brunt of the shortage of water and poor monsoons every year, why do these companies have a steady supply of water for cheap and further deplete water from the ecosystem?
The whole contention was framed as “privatisation of water resources”. It was cleared that the actual entity drawing out water was SIPCOT, which belongs to the government.
Read more on why it is important for us to preserve our groundwater resources.