U.S. Water News Online
COHIN, India -- A village council says it will decide soon
whether to shut down a Coca-Cola plant in southern India because of
allegations it is depleting groundwater.
``We have the legal right to cancel the license of any industrial
unit ... if it adversely affects the people of the locality,'' A.
Krishnan, chief of Perumatty village in the southern Indian state of
Kerala, said in an interview.
``I have asked the Coke officials to appear before the council
once again,'' he said, adding that the council will announce its
decision the same day.
Perumatty council controls several villages in the Palghat
district, 80 miles north of the state's commercial hub, Cochin. The
Coca-Cola plant was set up in the village of Plachimada in 1998.
Representatives of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola testified before the
village council earlier this month, saying that its local plant is
not depleting groundwater, and should not be closed.
Company officials will attend the council hearing on Dec. 2,
H.K.K. Warrier, human relations manager at the Coca-Cola plant, told
The Associated Press.
``We will submit before the council all the facts and figures to
prove that our plant is not over-exploiting groundwater,'' Warrier
Krishnan, the council chief who opposes the plant, said Coca-Cola
had not provided information he wanted on products manufactured in
the plant, the quality of groundwater used, facilities for recharging
groundwater and details of the company's Indian directors and
shareholders in the company.
He refused to explain how that information related to the issue of
depleted groundwater. Activists, farmers and villagers have staged
occasional protests outside the plant over the past few months. Coke
officials have said most of the protesters are paid, or are opposed
to the corporation doing business in India on political grounds.
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