Anger continues to brew against foreign multi-national companies and non-governmental organizations in Tamil Nadu. Coke and Pepsi disappeared from most shop shelves on Wednesday after traders in the state launched a boycott of the beverage firms. The immediate cause for the public ire is a petition by the US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the Supreme Court which led to a ban on Jallikkattu, the traditional bull-taming sport of Tamil Nadu. A perception had gained ground that the US-based multi-national companies were working to destroy the culture of the state. But, of late, the discussion has assumed altogether a different proportion.
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court on Thursday quashed the petition filed to ban water supply to Pepsi Co and Coca-Cola in Tamil Nadu.
However, the court intervention has not helped reduce the public antipathy towards MNCs. In fact, there is merit in the arguments put up by trade associations which have been campaigning against cola companies. It’s a medically proven fact that these beverages are unhealthy and cause several health complications such as obesity. Water guzzling cola companies waste water leading to acute shortages in areas around their manufacturing units. In many places, this has resulted in law and order problems. But with superior money and muscle power, these companies have managed to browbeat the local populations. According to the petitioner, DA Prabhakar, secretary of the Tirunelveli District Consumer Protection Association, the beverage makers were drawing water at subsidised rates, and leaving farmlands parched. Governments should take steps to protect the interests of hapless farmers.
Besides, profit-driven cola companies seldom give attention to the damage they cause to the ecology. At a time when the world is reeling under ill-effects of climate change and global warming, governments should impose severe restrictions or close down these companies.After all survival of human race is more important than profits of a few companies.