Home / Politics / Policy /  Riding on Jallikattu protests, Tamil Nadu traders look to ban Pepsi, Coca-Cola

Chennai: The Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu seem to have made way for fresh demands and revival of earlier appeals.

The Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu, or the Tamil Nadu traders’ association, on Tuesday said that it has decided to stop the sale of soft drinks of multinational companies including Coca-Cola and Pepsi brands from 1 March.

The move comes in the wake of the week-long protests across the state over Jallikattu, or the traditional bull-taming sport, which became a discussion forum for people to debate on how to take this movement forward to address various other issues. The demand to ban Pepsi and Coca Cola products was prevalent in most of these protests.

Last week, R. Guna, a student from Coimbatore who took part in the protests, said, “We should ban soft drinks like Pepsi and Coke, as they exploit our water resources."

Read here: Kamal Haasan: Jallikattu is a symbol of a much larger discontent

The traders’ association has decided to spend February in educating traders and consumers about the ‘evils of these brands’.

Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu president A.M. Vikramaraja said, “The decision to stop selling these multi-national brands has been made with the approval of the 6,000 affiliated member associations."

Over 15 lakh members, who are part of the association will stop the sale of soft drinks of multinational companies and have decided to promote local beverages.

Last week, some of the leading hotel chains in Coimbatore and Chennai agreed not to sell Coca Cola and Pepsi considering that the “multinational companies have caused a huge water scarcity and health issues among the citizens’.

Emails written to PepsiCo and Coca-Cola India did not elicit immediate response.

In November, 2015, Gangaikondan village in Tirunelveli witnessed hundreds of villagers protesting in front of the SIPCOT Industrial Growth Centre after the Tamil Nadu government gave a licence to PepsiCo to set up a factory. As they protested against the drawing of water from Thamirabarani river, several of them were injured due to the lathi-charge by the police.

Read here: Forget cruelty to animals, Jallikattu champions casteism and gender bias

The movement had also gained momentum online.

A petition, had claimed that an Right to Information (RTI) application revealed that the soft-drink multinational giant has been given “a licence to use 15 lakh litres of water every day from the river for the period of 99 years lease".

The RTI petition also pointed that Coca Cola, located in the same Gagaikondan SIPCOT is taking 10 lakh litres of water from Thamirabarani river. While farmers are solely dependent on the river for irrigation, the river is also the primary source of drinking water for the Tirunelveli district.

In November 2016, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court, on hearing a petition granted an interim injunction restraining the soft drinks and beverage companies—Coca Cola and Pepsi from using the waters from the Thamirabarani river.

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