Water Headed for Coca-Cola Intercepted, Given to Villagers
The Hindu
March 8, 2004

Thiruvananthapuram: Insufficient rains for three years in a row has pushed Kerala to a severe drought-like situation, boding ill for its economy, official sources said here on Sunday.

Reports from across the state say the water level in reservoirs is going down fast, standing crops in vast stretches are perishing and towns and villages have been hit by drinking water scarcity.

Kerala is also headed for a severe power crisis with the storage level in major hydel reservoirs dwindling fast, forcing the state to soon rely heavily on costlier thermal power brought from outside sources, they said.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front government has sought central assistance of Rs 1,359 crore to tackle the situation.

According to the meteorological centre here, the rainfall received by Kerala this year was deficient by 27 per cent.

The state, on an average, would have received 3018 mm rainfall, but this year it was 2270 mm.

In 2001, the rainfall was deficient by 13 per cent and in 2002, the shortfall was a huge 35 per cent.

Meanwhile in Palakkad district, activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and others involved in the anti-Coca Cola agitation on Sunday blocked two tanker lorries transporting water to Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada and distributed the water to local people.

They also emptied the remaining water in the paddy fields at Kannimari in the district.

The tankers were carrying water to the Coca-Cola plant from a private party at Vadavanour, police said.

Meanwhile, the indefinite relay satyagraha by farmers of Parambikkulam-Aliyar Water Protection Samathi, demanding the release of more water from the Parambikkumalam-Aliyar scheme to the state at Chitoor in the district entered the third-day on Sunday.

At present, ten persons are staging the satyagraha. A farmer, Sethumadavan, was shifted to the government hospital after his condition deteriorated, police said.

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