Tamil Nadu traders’ boycott of cola kicks in

Chennai, March 1 (IANS) Despite the attractive incentives offered by multi-national cola companies, nearly 70 per cent of members of Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu have stopped selling Coca Cola and Pepsi brands, a top leader of the trader’s organisation said.

The traders association in January called upon its members to boycott the two foreign cola brands and urged them to promote fresh juice and drinks made by Indian companies.

“The shopkeepers are being offered three or five crates free for every 10 crates of foreign colas bought. Nevertheless, nearly 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 TNVSP is an umbrella organisation of around 6,000 traders’ associations with membership of around 15 lakh across the state.

“We are selling old stocks as the companies are not taking back the bottles,” a shopkeeper told IANS.

According to Raja, a meeting of domestic cold drink makers has been called to increase their supplies.

“We have also called a meeting of restaurant and hotel owners to discuss the cola boycott issue,” Raja added.

The traders said they were 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 was banned under directions from the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Indian Beverage Association (IBA), an industry lobby, has expressed disappointment over the call to boycott products manufactured by Coca Cola and PepsiCo India.

“The boycott call also violates the rights of consumer to exercise choice,” the IBA said.

“We also have freedom to stock the kind of products we want to sell,” a trader told IANS.

–IANS

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