Varanasi villagers blame Coca-Cola for water scarcity

Varanasi villagers blame Coca-Cola for water scarcity
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Story Dated : November 28, 2015

Varanasi : 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. Mehdiganj is largely agrarian and communities here rely on groundwater to meet most of their needs, including for personal drinking and washing, irrigation and for livestock. Coca-Cola uses the same groundwater source to meet its production needs – placing it in direct competition with the local community, environmentalists say.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt ltd said a 2012 study by another authority called the Central Ground Water Board into a complaint by villagers of ponds, wells and hand pumps drying up found no evidence that the company was responsible. “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,” said a company statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“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.”

Despite the decline, the report also said there was enough water in ponds, dug-wells and good crops of wheat and mustard were observed in the fields, the statement added