Assembly Panel for Keeping Tabs on PepsiCo Water Use
The Hindu
September 25, 2012

Complaints of overexploitation of groundwater

Palakkad: The Assembly Committee on Environment, which visited the bottling plant of PepsiCo at Kanjikode on Tuesday, directed the Groundwater Department to monitor and restrict strictly the use of groundwater by the company.

The committee, on complaints from various organisations that the soft-drink giant was overexploiting groundwater, asked the department to examine if the company was tapping groundwater in excess of the permitted quantity. The complaints said the overexploitation was lowering the water table, affecting the drinking water sources of the local people.

The committee directed the departments of Industries and Groundwater and the Kerala State Pollution Control Board to give a report on pollution from industries in the district within a month.

After discussions with PepsiCo officials, C.P. Mohammed, Chairman of the committee, and Mullakkara Ratnakaran, member, said complaints had been received against the company for pollution caused by the disposal of slag and wastewater.

The committee directed the Groundwater Department officials to seal the water meter installed in the company to measure the use of groundwater.

Officials of the Groundwater Department informed the committee that the water meter, installed some time ago on directions from an environment watchdog committee, headed by the District Collector, had not been sealed.

Mr. Ratnakaran said the bottling plant had been allowed to use only 2.5 lakh litres of water a day by the previous Left Democratic Front government. But the company had got a stay on that order from the court.

He said the company had permit to produce only soft drinks. The Groundwater Department had been asked to examine if it had the licence to bring out bottled drinking water.

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