In response, the IBA, which represents Coca-Cola's and PepsiCo's Indian subsidiaries, said today that the call for a boycott was "anti-consumer, anti-competition" and went against the interests of Indian workers.
The boycott call comes at a time when Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's global chief, who incidentally hails from Tamil Nadu, is on a week-long tour to India to discuss investment proposals.
The traders blame the cola companies for drought in the state since they are said to exploit groundwater beyond permissible limits.
Raja said Bovonto was now available across the state while Torino was confined to the southern parts of Tamil Nadu.
The traders said they were partly spurred by the mass mobilisation that helped youths in Tamil Nadu to force the authorities to bow to them over Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport that was banned under directions from the Supreme Court.
In case of Jallikattu, a big argument against its ban was that organisations like the Indian wing of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was supporting it because it was funded by foreign entities. "So far, it has been good and we would continue to campaign against the products", said a member of the apex traders' association called Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu.
"We used to sell 20 cases of Coke per day (one case has 24 bottles) and now we have stopped the procurement completely and are going through the old stock". We don't have any stock now.
Chennai shopkeepers said they are aware of the traders' boycott decision. "They also play a critical role in improving the livelihood of over 200,000 retailers". Instead, they will now retail local alternatives - a move that is bound to promote home-grown businesses and products, especially with the temperatures starting to soar and summer just around the corner.
"The advertisements by the cola companies has brought this change in our society without our realisation", K. Mohan, Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangam, told IANS.
"The shopkeepers are being offered three or five crates free for every 10 crates of foreign colas bought".