New Delhi, Mar 2: Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday said boycott of beverage products of Coca Cola and Pepsi in Tamil Nadu is against the democratic values of the country and would only foster black marketing.
"I am not in favour of banning things because this gives rise to black marketing," she told PTI when asked about her comments on the development in Tamil Nadu and its impact on FDI.
The minister, who is currently on a visit to Japan leading a delegation of industry body CII to woo investments in Indian food processing sector, said: "As a democratic country, we have the right to eat what we want to eat."
She added, "Someone who wants to drink Cola will find Cola despite all odds. This ban will increase black marketing and corruption."
Tamil Nadu Traders Federation is boycotting sales of Coca Cola and Pepsi products with its President A M Vikrama Raja claiming the drinks as 'toxic' for consumption.
Raja had earlier proposed a ban on sale of these brands at the height of pro-jallikattu protests in the state in January, where it was widely claimed that many international groups may have been behind the ban on the bull taming sport.
"About 70 per cent of the (15 lakh) traders have decided to boycott the sales of Coke and Pepsi from today onwards for their toxic nature. Whatever you find on the shelves of the stores are leftover stocks which were not taken back by the distributing agencies," he had said.
Expressing disappointment, the Indian Beverage Association had on Wednesday said: "This is against the proven fundamentals of robust economic growth, and against the clarion call of Make in India. The products manufactured by Coca-Cola and Pepsi are of global standards and one of the safest available," it added.