Tamil Nadu: Madras High Court allows Pepsi, Coke to use water from Tamiraparani river

Tamil Nadu traders have called for a boycott of American Cola brands including Pepsi and Coke across the state starting from March 1

In what could be a minor relief for the Cola brand companies, the Madras High court on March 2 has allowed Pepsi and Coca-Cola to use water from the Tamiraparani river in the state of Tamil Nadu. This comes days the American soft-drink companies faced protests from the local traders, who barred Pepsi and Coke from using water from the river.

The person who filed a petition in the court had asserted that the company has been exploiting local resources for the commercial purpose. According to several media reports, the company defended its stand saying that they only use the surplus water from the river.

Shops across the state of Tamil Nadu have reportedly started taking off clearing stocks of Pepsi and Coke bottles from their shops after traders in the states called for a ban on multinational cola brands in a bid to promote local drinks.

The decision to boycott these cola brands had been taken in the month of January during the protests against the Jallikattu ban. The Tamil Nadu Traders Union has asserted that they are taking this decision to boycott Coke and Pepsi because it is harmful and they contain germs. The traders have also affirmed that they want to promote swadeshi brands.

“They (Pepsi, Coke) are not healthy drinks, have certain harmful germs. So we have decided to boycott them,” Vikrama Raja, Tamil Nadu Traders Union said.

According to several media reports, a number of traders have been asked by the association not to stock Amercian soft drinks to promote local drinks. They further asserted that starting March 1, traders will only sell local drinks. Justifying the ban, the association members urged people to not consider it as a boycott but a request to the people to not give a boost to the MNCs. The traders have also alleged that the companies are exploiting the water bodies of the state. However, Pepsi and Coke are still being sold at supermarkets and malls.