More Coke And Pepsi
In Indian Parliament
The Hindu, India
07 August, 2003
Parliament was today quick to banish from its premises the soft drinks
manufactured by Pepsi and Coca-Cola following allegations by a non-governmental
organisation on Tuesday that they contained toxic pesticides.
This was announced
by the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Food Management,
E. Ahamed, in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the issue.
Mr. Ahamed (IUML)
said that supply of all the drinks listed in the report of the Centre
for Science and Environment (CSE) should be discontinued on the premises.
With the House approving this unanimously, orders were issued for the
removal of refrigerators of the two companies and any other promotional
material they may have put up in the canteens.
Later, the Union
Health Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said a comprehensive report would be
presented to the House on the issue as soon as possible. Further, the
Government would be guided by the collective wisdom of the House on
The issue came up
soon after close of question hour and preoccupied the House for a considerable
while as at least 20 members had given notices to speak on the subject.
Conceding the importance of the issue much to the chagrin of
Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) who had given a notice for discussing
the unemployment issue the Speaker, Manohar Joshi, allowed a
Cutting across party
lines, members expressed concern about the startling revelations of
the CSE study; given the popularity of these brands among the younger
generation. Some members demanded a ban on the soft drinks while others
such as Ramji Lal Suman of the Samajwadi Party and A.K. Premajam of
the CPI(M) questioned why these companies were allowed to maintain a
quality standard in India that was lower than that acceptable one in
the developed world.
B. Saroja (AIADMK)
demanded legislation regulating soft drinks in the country and made
out a case for providing security to the CSE director for coming out
with such a report. Kerala MPs said the waste of a Coca-Cola plant in
Palghat was contaminating the water. While there was near unanimity
in the House on the issue, a discordant note was struck by V.K. Malhotra
of the BJP when he accused the Opposition of politicising the issue.