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TN to boycott Pepsi, Coke from today; promote home-grown brands instead, say associations

A leading group of traders in Tamil Nadu is going 'swadeshi' by boycotting Coke and Pepsi from today (March 1) citing health and environmental reasons. The traders say they have been partly spurred by the mass mobilisation that helped youths in Tamil Nadu to force the authorities to bow to them over Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport that had been banned under directions from the Supreme Court.

"After the jallikattu movement, we found many youths are not in favour of the two cola brands," AM Vikrama Raja, President, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (TNVSP), told IANS earlier.

Leaders of Tamil Nadu Traders Federation (TNTF) and Consortium of Tamil Nadu Traders Association (CTNTA) are asking shopkeepers to promote home-grown brands like Kali Mark, Bovonto and Torino, to increase supplies and offer an alternative to the two big global cola brands. Bovonto is now available across the state while Torino is confined to the southern parts of Tamil Nadu. "When there is demand, the brand owners will beef up their supply chain and retailers will go for them," he said.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Both the associations -- TNTF, CTNTA, will force more than 20 lakh shops who are affliliated with them to boycott both Pepsi and Coke. But not all will comply. Many super markets located in Chennai and other parts of the state will not take part in the boycott, DNA said.

"We are not opposing it just because these products are made by the MNCs. But it does more harm than good to the body. We decided to boycott because of the harmful content," said A M Vikramaraja, president of the CTNTA, the DNA reported. He said that the protest may spread to other cities like Kerala and Puducherry, too.

The Indian Beverages Association (IBA) has expressed concern. Its Secretary General Arvind Verma said IBA was "deeply disappointed" to learn about the decision taken by the trade association, it was reported earlier.

"The proposed call is not just against the interest of the farmers, traders and retailers, it also undermines the role the industry can play in economic growth and development," he said to PTI.

He said, "both Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India had made major contributions to the Indian economy, providing employment to around 350,000 people besides improving the livelihoods of over 500,000 farmers and about four million retailers in the country. IBA is open to engage with any organisation that has a diverse point of view," Verma said.

(With inputs from agencies)

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2017 13:58 PM

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