Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu Social Forum has called for a nationwide ban on soft drinks produced by multi-national companies.

Addressing a public meeting here on Sunday, Sony Thangam, member of Indian working committee of the World Social Forum, said that such a unit in Kerala had devastated the livelihood of villagers by extracting huge amounts of ground water thus affecting farming operations. Stressing the need to extend reservation status of the three reserved panchayats in Madurai and one in Virudhunagar, U. Vasuki, State general secretary, All India Democratic Women's Association, said that these panchayats should not be de-reserved after the stipulated period.

Nammalvar, environmentalist, spoke at length about the ill effects of genetically modified commodities such as Bt cotton.