CSE Turns Down Coke's Offer for Dialogue
Business Standard
September 7, 2006

New Delhi: The cola controversy refuses to fizzle out. Sunita Narain, director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), today turned down Coca-Cola's invitation for a dialogue. In a letter dated August 16, Atul Singh, Coca-Cola India's president and chief executive officer, had requested CSE for a meeting.

Speaking to Business Standard, Narain said, "We were contemplating whether we should go ahead with this meeting. While we had initially agreed, we realised this might just be a manoeuvre to delay the setting of standards."

"It is disappointing that CSE has withdrawn its agreement to accept our offer for a meeting. We believe that there is an opportunity for us to work together going forward," a Coca-Cola press release stated.

Narain said her future course of action would be to pressurise the health ministry to finalise standards for finished products in a time-bound manner.

Dismissing the cola companies' claims of the water being contaminated, Narain said, "These companies also sell packaged water. If they can refine water for that purpose, they can surely do the same for their colas." But, she agreed that there was a larger issue of water contamination in the country.

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