Indian State to Crack Down on Drinks Firms
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India — The Indian state of Kerala said Thursday
it was drafting a law to stop soft drinks firms including Pepsico
using too much water amid concerns over a "severe" shortage of drinking
N.K. Premachandran, minister for water resources in the south Indian
state, said soft drink makers would risk having their licences withdrawn
under the new law if they over exploited groundwater supplies.
"The state groundwater department has conducted a survey where a PepsiCo
bottling plant is situated and found that the company is over exploiting
groundwater resulting in a severe drinking water shortage," Premachandaran
"We are going to amend the (water resources) law with provisions to
impose stringent penalties on the erring companies including cancellation
of their licence."
The two main soft drink makers in India are Coca Cola and Pepsico,
which is embroiled in a long legal battle with Kerala's Puthussery
The village council decided in 2004 to cancel the operating licence
it gave the US cola giant's plant on the grounds it used too much
Pepsico disputed the village charge and a state court blocked the
Meanwhile, the state Pollution Control Board has started legal proceedings
against a Coca Cola bottling plant in the state for fouling soil and
The plant in southern Kerala state has been closed since March 2004
following a temporary ban by the government and subsequent protests
by residents of a village near the bottling operation over depleting
groundwater in the region.
The company's Indian arm, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited,
denied the allegations and called them "unwarranted and arbitrary."
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