COLA GIANTS took the pesticide battle to the kabadiwala’s door, blaming them for buying empty branded bottles and selling them to fake manufactures!
Both Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo have now trained their guns on the kabadiwala suspected to be reselling empty cola bottles to makers of fake soft drinks after purchasing them from consumers and retailers across the city.
Coca-Cola officials are particularly worried about the circulation of fake cola brands in the aftermath of the pesticide row as the very same bottles, they apprehend, have the likeliest possibility of ending up in a laboratory which might come out with results based on the contents of the fake brand.
Vice President (Technical) Cola-Cola India Asim Parekh said during his recent visit to the city: “Uttar Pradesh is our biggest market in the country. The problem of fakes remain a serious one. We are already doing whatever we can to end the menace. The threat is not great for plastic bottles as they have little resale value for the kabadiwalas. The danger lies in preference for the glass bottles as they become fake soft drink makers first choice.”
“Ideally, empty soft drink bottles should return to the franchisee. However, some of the bottles get sold by the consumers and even certain retailers to the kabadiwala which are then purchased by fake soft drink makers for their illegal trade,” a spokesman of Coca- Cola India told HT Lucknow Live on Thursday.
He said fake soft drink makers even make identical crowns of soft drink brands to hoodwink customers.
“There are frequent raids on illegal manufacturing facilities of fake cola makers across the country. However, the problem has assumed seriously dangerous proportions,” the spokesman said.
“We are in the process of setting up vigilant groups across the country, where the movement of empty bottles of all Coca-Cola brands would be closely monitored,” he added.
A senior PepsiCo official when contacted said that the State Government would also have to play a proactive role in checking the spread of fake cola brands not just in Lucknow but across the State by conducting raids on the illegal bottling facilities churning out fakes.
Both the soft drink majors are also worried over the fact that a large number of cola bottles also get sold by the kabadiwalas to the makers of various milk products in the unorganised sector who package them and sell the products in the market.