Coca Cola halts sales in Terai region

Kathmandu, November 19:

Sale of all Coca Cola products has been halted for last two weeks in over a dozen of districts in Terai region following a ‘racial row’ sparked in the soft-drink giant’s Nepal unit, states a press release issued here today.

The halt of sales came after Madhesi National Liberation Front of Nepal (MNLFN), a sister organisation of CPN-Maoists, asked people from Terai to stop consumption of cola products accusing its Nepali management of being ‘racilly biased’ towards the employees of Madhesi origin.

Although the row began some five months back, it came to light when the employees of Madhesi community formally submitted a memorandum to the Coca Cola’s country manager Mike Smith on November 2, requesting him to immediately put an end to the problem.

MNLFN has asked the country manager Smith, a South African national, to immediately resolve the problem and stop racial crusade against the Madhesi employees, who are in a minority in Coca Cola’s two units.

In its two units — Nepal Bottlers (Terai) Ltd, Bharatpur, Chitwan and Nepal Bottlers Ltd, Balaju, Kathmandu, Coca Cola employs 14 people of Madhesi origin, majority of them in executive level.

The affected Madhesi staff said that they have been continuously receiving letters from unidentified place and name threatening them to quit the job or face serious consequences.