Thiruvananthapuram, Aug. 9: The Kerala government on Wednesday imposed a ban on the production, sale and distribution of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. A Cabinet meeting held here also decided to ban sale of all other soft drinks brought out by the two multinationals. The state committee of the ruling Left Democratic Front had on Sunday asked the government to consider banning Coke and Pepsi.
Its recommendation came in the wake of the fresh report by the Centre for science and environment on the presence of dangerous levels of pesticides in the colas. Also, the CPI (M) and its allies have no love lost for the cola majors and have been involved in the popular agitation against the Coke factory in Plachimada of Palakkad.
Talking to mediapersons after a Cabinet meeting, chief minister V.S. Achutanandan said that several studies had pointed out that the colas were not good for health. Mr Achutanandan added that people of Palakkad had been fighting against Coke for its overexploitation of precious groundwater and for causing pollution.
The chief minister also recalled several court verdicts against the cola companies. However, Mr Achutanandan, did not seem to be sure whether the ban would be imposed immediately and said that the health minister and top officials would work out the modalities of the ban. It is not known if the bottled mineral water marketed by the cola majors would also be banned.
Traders of the state have by and large welcomed the ban and have asked the government to encourage local soft drink producers who have been facing a crisis. The Congress-led UDF has also not opposed the ban. The controversial Coke plant at Plachimada and the Pepsi unit at Puthuserry have been the target of agitation’s for months.