A court in Indian ruled on Thursday that Coca-Cola and Pepsi should not be banned from using water from a river in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu.
The High Court asked the petitioner why a similar case was not filed against other companies drawing water from the same river.
Petitioner DA Prabhakar had claimed that since the river provides water for drinking and irrigation in two districts, the farmers were suffering from Pepsi and Coke using the water for commercial gain.
The managing director of South India Bottling Co (P) Ltd, co-packers for Coca-Cola Company, SIPCOT Industrial Growth Centre, Gangaikondan village, Tirunelveli, in his counter, told the court that Prabakar, who was dealing with the company's cases for almost three years, was removed from service for unethical practices. Due to his unethical practice, his service was terminated. Considering this, while the court condemned Prabakar it also observed that PIL shouldn't be allowed to be misused for enmity. The company had reportedly been given sanction to draw more than 1 million liters of water each day from the nearby Tamirabarani River.
President A M Vikrama Raja, Traders Federation in Tamil Nadu, declared drinks as "toxic" for consumption. So, we see more people opt for soft drinks than Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Pepsi and Coke sell a range of products across India, including soft drinks and bottled water.
"We will start a campaign among our members and the public against the foreign brands".
Traders bodies in Tamil Nadu made a decision to stop selling popular soft drink brands of multinational companies from March 1, soon after the success of the pro-Jallikattu protests. "Whatever you find on the shelves of the stores are leftover stocks and those not taken back by the (distributing) agencies", he said.
Lobbying group Indian Beverage Association (IBA), which represents a handful of soft drink manufacturers, called the boycott "deeply disappointing", suggesting that it presents a "detrimental" effect on the country's image and "long-term interests of the Indian economy".
Water is an emotive subject in Tamil Nadu, which has been battling its neighboring state Karnataka for a share from the Cauvery river for years.
The views were echoed by Amit Srivastava, director at the NGO India Resource Centre.