Traders and retailers in Tamil Nadu today started boycotting multinational cola brand along with their other soft drink products citing reasons pertaining to health and the environment.
Time of India reported that most small traders in North Chennai, Trichy and Salem stopped selling Pepsi and Coke in response to the boycott call.
According to several media reports, a number of traders have been asked by the association to not stock Amercian soft drinks to promote local drinks. "Nevertheless, almost 70 per cent of our members have not ordered for fresh stocks and whatever is being sold are old stocks", A. M. Vikrama Raja, President, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (TNVSP), told IANS.
The traders blame the cola companies for drought in the state since they are said to exploit groundwater beyond permissible limits.
However, many stores across Chennai are still selling the drinks, something which Vikram Raja, the president of the Traders Union, said is not a cause of worry.
Retailers also said they had stopped taking orders for fresh stock of Coke and Pepsi though there was no dip in the demand for the drinks.
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. The boycott call also violates the rights of the consumer to exercise choice", the association said.
"The advertisements by the cola companies has brought this change in our society without our realisation", K. Mohan, Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangam, told IANS. However, this is not good news for the two big beverage brands, and even the Indian Beverages Association (IBA) has expressed its doubts over the move.
"The shopkeepers are being offered three or five crates free for every 10 crates of foreign colas bought".