Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, Nov 28: After Kodaikanal raised their voice against Unilever’s toxic disgracing the southern hill station, here are eighteen village councils in Uttar Pradesh which are blaming Coca-Cola for the scarcity of water in the region. They are demanding the bottling plant of Coca-Cola to be prohibited from extracting water from the ground. According to their claims of an environmental campaign group, the over usage of water is affecting the water in the ground in the area.
The villages which comes under the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that they have been facing water shortages since 1992 when the plant began its operations. A Hindustan Times Report quoted Amit Srivastava of the California-based India Resource Center, who is supporting the village councils as, “Elected village council heads represent the voice of the people, and they are clear that Coca-Cola is not welcome in Mehdiganj. It is time for Coca-Cola to pack up and leave. Coca-Cola paints a pretty picture of itself internationally as a responsible user of water, but the reality in India is that it exploits groundwater at the expense of the poor, the women, children, farmers and livestock who have to live with less water because Coca-Cola mines groundwater in a water scarce area for profit.”
Mehdiganj is the place from where Coca-Cola uses groundwater for its needs which affects the agrarian communities of the region. State Pollution Control Board which gave license to Coca-Cola was also informed about the issue. In a 2012 study by the Central Ground Water Board, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt ltd said that the beverages company was not responsible fro the drying up of ponds, wells and hands in the region. (Also Read- Kodaikanal Mercury Poisoning: Everything you need to know about Unilever mercury dumping case)
The company statement told Thomson Reuters Foundation, “The Central Ground Water Board observed that this depletion was not due to withdrawal of ground water by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd (HCCBPL) plant.” The report further mentioned there was a clear trend of water depletion in seven blocks of Varanasi district and particularly in Arajiline block, the rate was higher.”