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Thanda matlab ... bug killer

Why are our farmers, always in the news for their burden of debt, suddenly buying colas?

COLA COMPANIES plug their fizzy drinks with mostly images of a cool crowd swigging the stuff. Sometimes not-so-cool dudes too (but then, it was Amir Khan the cow-belt and pahadi dude in those promos).

But what the MNCs (as also local cola companies) won't probably show is happy farmers traipsing through their cotton and chilli fields spraying the stuff to get rid of the creepy crawlies. Yup, that's what exactly is happening in Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and, as a little birdie insists, in Karnataka too. John Vidal reported in The Guardian that instead of coughing up huge sums to international chemical companies for their patented pesticides, our sons of the soil have been spraying colas on bugs with remarkable results.

t costs them just Rs. 270 to spray an acre. Compare this with 10,000 buck for a litre of concentrated, branded pesticides. And it's just not Coke and Pepsi that are delivering the goods. Good old Thums Up too is in that league.

The pests are being felled by the bucket load, most probably due to the sugar content that attract red ants that dine on insect larvae, though cola companies do add citric and phosphoric acids to add dum to the palate.

Asked about the unexpected success in our hallis, a Coca-Cola spokesperson stiffly said from the company's Atlanta headquarters that it could be a one-off thing as part of "crop management routine".

And, ahem, there's also a reported section of the urban populace that uses colas as efficient lavatory cleaners.

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