Sales of Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been banned in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Two of the biggest trade associations in the region called for the boycott in favor of Indian products starting March 1.
The American soft drinks giants have been accused of taking too much water from rivers with local farmers left battling for proper irrigation of the land at the time of a severe drought.
The associations also called on supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels, urging them to join the boycott and help local businesses and farmers prosper.
The boycott followed a wave of protests against the Supreme Court’s ban of a local bull-taming festival called jallikattu last month.
“Most traders stopped selling Pepsi and Coca-Cola products soon after the jallikattu protests. Now, more will join in,” said Tha Vellaiyan, head of the Tamil Nadu Traders Federation.
He added that the campaign against soft drinks had gained momentum after extending support to the pro-jallikattu movement.
“Drinks like Pepsi and Coca-Cola are not good for your health because of their high sugar and chemical content. We are promoting Indian soft drinks, and will encourage better sales of fruit juices,” Vellaiyan said.
At the same time, the organizers clarified that it’s not a ban, saying that they just asked the traders not to sell the goods produced by the corporations.
The Indian Beverage Association (IBA) said it was disappointed with the ban, saying it “was against the proven fundamentals of robust economic growth.”
“Coca-Cola and PepsiCo India together provide direct employment to 2,000 families in Tamil Nadu and more than 5,000 families indirectly. IBA hopes that good sense will prevail and that consumers will continue to have the right to exercise their choice in Tamil Nadu,” it said as quoted by BBC.