Coca-Cola Issue Discussed in Parliament
NEW DELHI: The Plachimada controversy involving allegations of over
exploitation of ground water by the Coca-Cola Company came up in the
Lok Sabha on Friday with the leader of the Janata Dal (S) Parliamentary
Party, M.P. Veerendra Kumar, urging the Government to support the
Perumatty Panchayat in its legal battle against the multinational
company in the Supreme Court. Raising the issue during zero hour,
Mr. Kumar said: "The time has come to place restrictions on MNCs which
use ground water as their sole raw material in large quantities to
make aerated, mineral and sweetened bottled waters."
The MNCs, which sold water and made huge profits, were equated with
the common man who demanded drinking water. "The individuals and the
huge corporate are treated in the same level, which is unjust," he
Mr. Kumar drew the Government's attention to the "alarming situation"
in Plachimada in the Perumatty Panchayat of Palakkad district where
there was "acute shortage of drinking water" due to the over exploitation
of ground water by Coca-Cola.
In the area where the company was situated, the land was polluted
and the water contaminated. The entire agricultural operations were
at a standstill, he said.
"The struggle of the local people, especially the adivasis, has completed
three years. The Perumatty Panchayat has gone on appeal to the Supreme
Court against the decision of the Division Bench of the Kerala High
Court. I would request the Government to support and help the Perumatty
Panchayat, which is fighting to establish their constitutional rights.
How can a small panchayat fight the mighty multinational company,"
Mr. Kumar asked.
"I urge the Government to direct the Ground Water Authority to conduct
a study in Plachimada and also the adjoining Pudussery Panchayat where
Pepsi is exploiting ground water so that safeguards can be taken to
avoid the impending crisis. I also want the Government to re-prioritise
the allocation of water in order to protect the interest of the rural
poor. It is equally important to have policy decisions and proper
implementation of the same with regard to ground water exploitation,"
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