Icon of Coca-Cola Campaign Receives Speak Out Award

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2005

Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +1 415 336 7584 E: info@IndiaResource.org

San Francisco: The India Resource Center congratulates Ms. Mayilamma of Plachimada for receiving the prestigious Speak Out Award on October 8, 2005 in New Delhi, India.

The award, instituted by the Outlook magazine, honors individuals who have spoken out for a cause.

Ms. Mayilamma has been a central figure in the community-led campaign in Plachimada in southern India to challenge the Coca-Cola company.

The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada has caused severe water shortages in the area and also polluted the water and soil around the plant. Community opposition to the Coca-Cola bottling plant, led by Ms. Mayilamma, has resulted in the plant being shut down since March 2004.

Mayilamma, a 56 year old Adivasi (Indigenous person), has been directly affected by Coca-Cola's operations. The water in her well, in Vijaynagar colony in Plachimada in Kerala's Palakkad district, has been so heavily polluted by Coca-Cola's operations that it is deemed unfit for human consumption.

Ms. Mayilamma has provided leadership in the community on the campaign from the very beginning, and her work is responsible for the formidable campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable becoming well known internationally.

The Anti-Coca-Cola Struggle Committee, a community group leading the campaign to which Mayilamma belongs, has held a vigil directly outside Coca-Cola's factory gates since April 22, 2002.

"Ms. Mayilamma is the one person who has always been present at the vigil, no matter when we went, and we have visited numerous times," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigning organization that works with Ms. Mayilamma. "Her dedication, commitment and leadership is an inspiration to us all."

Ms. Sonia Gandhi, chair of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), conferred the award upon Ms. Mayilamma.


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