Minister for Water Resources Admits Excessive Groundwater Use by Coca-Cola
Kolkata: Soft drinks manufacturers like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will
have to work with the ministry of water resources to replenish the
groundwater they use to produce the branded beverages, P R Dasmunsi,
Union minister for water resources, said at a seminar here on 'Rainwater
harvesting & groundwater recharge', organised jointly by Federation
of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Bharat Chamber
of Commerce (BCC).
The ministry would seek corporate sector participation for preserving
and re-charging the ground water resources, said Dasmunsi.
Voluntary participation of softdrinks manufacturers , corporate bodies
and other private players is the only way for successful completion
of the project, the minister pointed out.
Excessive water usage by these industries along with power producing
industries and other water intensive industries was a credible threat
to the country's ground water (GW) resources.
In order to bring some 'regulation ' on water usage , the ministry
has asked state government for their opinion. After receiving these,
the Centre would consult the ministry of environment and forests for
The minister said the government would form a 'Rain water harvesting
council' with FICCI, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and corporate
bodies for implementing a rain harvesting project at the national
The Central Ground Water Board has come up with a master plan for
recharging GW at a national level. Overall participation of village
level governing bodies like panchayats and zila parishads were essential
for overall success.
Wastage of water in rural areas was another issue of concern. "There
should be some sort of financial obligation with usage of water, but
marginal and poor farmers can be kept outside the the purview of such
charges" Dasmunsi added.
Addressing several concerning issues like contamination, lowering
ground water level, wastage of water at some regions of the country
might convert water to a 'commodity' with high price , feared the
Presently, 8 per cent area of the country is experiencing decline
in ground water levels of more than 20 cm per year and if it continues
like this, then by the end of the twelfth finance commission," he
said. This issues would become "critical, difficult and perhaps impossible
to control", said the minister.
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