Village Fights Coca-Cola to Preserve Water
Asian News International
April 16, 2005

Plachimada (Kerala): It's the summer time and cold drinks are considered to be the best way to quench your thirst. But the thirst is being quenched by taking somebody's water. A major soft drink company, Coca-Cola, is caught in a major controversy here over using ground water.

After the ruling of the state High Court permitting the Coca Cola drink making unit to draw ground water again, villagers here are preparing to approach the Supreme Court in continuation of their three year long protest against the cola company.

Kerala High Court last week passed an order that allowed the factory to draw 500,000 litres of water per day.

Villagers, who have been sitting on a protest for the past 1086 days, say that the decision would not only worsen the water scarcity situation in the region but would also pose health hazards.

Viliodu Venugopal, President of the Anti Coca Cola struggle committee, said that since their protest have not been paid heed to, they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

"Our next step would be to appeal (to Supreme Court) to stay the Kerala High Court order directing the renewal of the coke plant license. Even though the court had given the direction to renew the license, the power is vested with the panchayat president," Venugopal said.

Protesters said that around 60,000 people were adversely affected due to the plant.

"Our farming activities had been completely affected after the coke company started to function here. Moreover, the entire groundwater had got polluted. We want this coke factory to be removed immediately. Already we have suffered a huge loss in farming business. Now, for the past one year the company is closed due to cancellation of license and due to this the groundwater has slightly improved," said Arumugam, a resident.

In December 2004, a single bench of Kerala High Court had ordered Coca-cola to find alternate source of water for its high production needs.

Soft drink companies in the country have been facing a tough time. Protests had engulfed the country when a New Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reported that Coca Cola and other soft drinks contained pesticide residues beyond permissible limits.India with its over a billion population offers a huge market for soft drinks. Coke, which was asked to leave the country by Janata Dal government in 1977, has invested close to 1 billion dollars here. Rival Pepsi, which made its debut in India in 1989, has also invested 1.5 billion dollars.

NGOs say that these cola majors don't follow strict quality guidelines and are making huge profits paying no attention to environmental and health concerns.

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.




Home | About | How to Use this Site | Sitemap | Privacy Policy

India Resource Center (IRC) is a project of Global Resistance -- "Building Global Links for Justice"
URL: http://www.IndiaResource.org Email:IndiaResource (AT) igc.org