TAMIL NADU

Storm in a teacup

Sir, — The Cola war is nothing but a storm in a teacup. A simple technical issue has been hijacked by politicians and the media has sensationalised it. India is unique in having lax national quality standards but still insisting on compliance with the Western standards in the consumer products manufactured or distributed by the MNCs operating in the country.

In the present case also, it is not clear whether Coke and Pepsi have the contractual obligation to adhere to E.U. standards or if the MoU signed with them was specific about it. So, this knee jerk reaction to the question of pesticide residues in the colas shows that we are still paranoid about the "exploitation" by the MNCs.

V. Venkatasubramanian, Trombay, Mumbai

Sir, — I do not understand why our media and politicians are making so much noise over the CSE findings.

How many people consume soft drinks? Ours is a country where almost half the population drinks water drawn from unsafe ponds or rivers, and even filtering is not foolproof. Does the Government spare a thought for them?

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana

Sir, — The soft drink giants are unapologetic over the BBC findings of heavy metal poisoning of the sludge at the Palakkad bottling plant and the CSE's pesticide study. The Centre and the State Governments must direct the health authorities to carry out random checks on market samples of the soft drinks and initiate proper legal proceedings against the companies which appear to be exploiting the ill-defined, non-specific laws and the health of the people.

Susamma Thomas, Kollam, Kerala

Sir, — The CSE revelation is quite alarming. Now the Pollution Control Board of Kerala has discovered the presence of toxic substances in the sludge distributed by the Coca Cola company to the farmers. It is high time a nationwide ban of these products was considered.

Lakshmi Sukumar, Alleppey, Kerala

Sir, — The CSE report should act as an eye-opener to the gullible public. And cricketers and cine actors who are minting money by posing with these soft drinks should stop endorsing them.

H. Ghouse Baig, Tiruchi, T.N.