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Communist Bengal not to ban cola immediately

West Bengal would not ban the sale of soft drinks of two multinational giants till a report was received on samples sent to the central government for testing, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said Thursday.//

"A decision will be taken only after we receive the report," Bhattacharya told reporters, taking a stand in sharp contrast to Kerala, another communist-ruled state.

There would be no ban on the sale of Coke and Pepsi till a decision is taken by the state government, Bhattacharya said.

"Of course, they (the cola companies) can sell until we take a decision," he affirmed.

The Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an independent agency, had this month said very high quantities of pesticides were found in samples of 12 brands of soft drinks.

Following the report, a number of states imposed restrictions on the sales of aerated drinks.

The CSE tests had found highest quantity of pesticide in the samples collected from Kolkata.

Meanwhile, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said primary reports of laboratory tests of soft drinks in the state had failed to identify any harmful ingredients.

"Preliminary reports from different laboratories on the contents in Coke and Pepsi have not identified any hazardous ingredient that can cause death," Bose said.

Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty said the cola companies should be allowed to do business in India even as Left Front partner Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) argued in favour of a ban on them.

However, the Front-ruled Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has issued warnings against colas highlighting their reported harmful effects.

(Source - IANS)
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