Chief scientist of Krishi Vignana Kendra Bhaskar Padmodaya asserted on Tuesday that the farming community was in distress, but multi-national companies were recording a turnover of Rs. 50,000 crore on soft drink sales in the country.

He launched distribution of soaked dal (vadapappu) and an aromatic drink made of jaggery (paanakam) on Sri Rama Navami festival near Sri Ramalayam in Nagarajupet at a programme organised by Jana Vignana Vedika. Explaining the health hazards due to consumption of soft drinks, the scientist said people across the globe were consuming nearly 2 crore tonnes of chemicals by way of soft drinks.

Agriculture sector was badly hit by steep depletion of ground water at Plachimada in Kerala and Kaladera in Rajasthan where Coca Cola plants were located, Dr. Padmodaya said. Intake of additional calories through soft drinks increased the risk of obesity and prolonged consumption leads to outbreak of diabetes, he said and exhorted youth to keep soft drinks at bay, special officer of YSR Regional Sports School V. Ramachandra Reddy said. He advised parents to dissuade their children from consuming soft drinks and instead have ‘paanakam’, lime juice, sugarcane juice, butter milk, coconut water, sharbat and ragi malt.

Jana Vignana Vedika district general secretary A. Raghunatha Reddy demanded implementation of G.O. 921 issued on August 9, 2006 by Kadapa District Education Officer K. Anjaiah banning sale of soft drinks near educational institutions all over Kadapa district. JVV district vice-president S. Prabhakar, treasurer Srinivas, city president M. Venkatarama Raju participated.