Tamil Nadu trader associations on Tuesday decided against selling soft drinks and water manufactured by multi-national companies to sell only Indian brands from March 1, The Hindu reported on Wednesday. The Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu and Tamil Nadu Traders Federation, which are behind the step, have around 6,000 member affiliates and 15.87 lakh members.

The chief of the Tamil Nadu Traders Federation, Vellaiyan, said the decision, which is expected to affect PepsiCo and Coca Cola products in particular, was only a directive and not a ban. “It is the government’s duty to ban these products, but since it is unwilling to do so, we decided to do it,” Vellaiyan told The News Minute.

Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu President AM Vikramaraja said they will be spreading awareness among traders and consumers about the “evil of these foreign brands” in February. “They cause more harm than good to the body. Only recently, one of the brands had admitted to the fact that it was not suitable for children and that it contained certain harmful chemicals,” Vikramaraja told The Hindu.

Until recently, their fight had lacked consumer support. “During the recent protest by students demanding the removal of the ban on jallikattu, the youngsters had sought a ban on these soft drinks since they draw our groundwater and take the profits outside the country. Encouraged by that, we are taking this campaign forward,” he said, adding that they would encourage restaurants and hotels to stop selling foreign brands of drinks.

SA Ponnusamy of the Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Employees Welfare Association said his members would stop selling dairy products supplied by a particular MNC, according the Hindu report.