Gov't Restricts Water to Coca-Cola to Ease Water Shortages
Faced with the ire of 23 villages in Palghar district's Wada taluka over acute shortage of drinking water, state industries minister Subhash Desai has ordered that water supply from the Vaitarna dam to the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Wada be reduced.
The decision was taken in Mantralaya on Tuesday, and the Palghar district collector (DC) will monitor developments on a weekly basis. The tehsildar for Wada and the irrigation department will give feedback to the DC who, in turn, will inform the government. Desai has also said unless Wada taluka's drinking water crisis is solved, water supply to the Coca-Cola plant will continue to be regulated. The beverage giant has also been asked to adopt 10 villages every summer in Wada taluka to alleviate their water problems.
Villagers in Wada had decided to stop water supply from Vaitarna dam to the bottling plant on April 27, alleging water meant for agriculture and drinking purposes is being supplied to the plant.
Vivek Pandit, president, Shramjivi Sanghatana and a former MLA from Vasai said the 67-acre Coca-Cola plant and other industrial units in Wada, particularly steel rolling mills, are getting abundant water from Vaitarna dam. "This is the sole source of water for us," said Pandit.
Vijay Jadhav, a Sanghatana member, added that Coca-Cola has laid a massive pipeline that directly takes water from the dam to the plant, "The Coca-Cola plant gets around 1 lakh litres of water from the Vaitarna dam and we charge them Rs 200 for 10,000 litres of water," an irrigation department official said. A Coca-Cola official, who declined to be indentified, said, "We will abide by the ruling after studying the order. Summer is peak season for bottled beverages and demand is high. We will have to source water from elsewhere to meet the demand," the official said.
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