Community Protests Coca-Cola Plant in India
Community Files Police Report Accusing Coca-Cola of Water Theft
For Immediate Release
October 25, 2007
Baliram Ram, Coca-Cola Bhagao, Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti +91
94507 79325 (Hindi)
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti +91 94153 00520 (Hindi)
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +91 98103 46161 E: info@IndiaResource.org
Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India (October 25, 2007):
Over 600 people marched and rallied against the Coca-Cola bottling
plant in the village of Sinhachawar in Ballia district in India yesterday,
demanding that the plant be shut down permanently.
The community has accused the bottling plant of pollution and also
illegally occupying land held by the village assembly.
A visit by community members to the factory premises in May 2007 found
the bottling plant indiscriminately dumping its hazardous waste inside
and outside the factory premises.
In 2003, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India assessed
the sludge at eight Coca-Cola bottling plants, and found them all
to contain excessive levels of lead, cadmium or chromium. As a result,
the CPCB ordered the Coca-Cola company in India to treat its waste
at all its bottling plants as industrial hazardous waste, and deal
with it accordingly.
Four years later, the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sinhachawar has
failed to follow the orders. In particular, the dumping of such hazardous
waste violates the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules,
1989 from the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India.
"We are demanding that the Coca-Cola bottling plant cease its operations
permanently because they are destroying our land and water, the very
source of our livelihoods," said Mr. Baliram Ram of the Coca-Cola
Bhagao, Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, the main organizer of the
The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sinhachawar has also built its boundary
walls encompassing some land that is owned by the village assembly.
In December 2005, villagers noticed that the Coca-Cola bottling plant
had blocked access to a public road that went through the bottling
plant. The villagers forcibly removed the gates placed by the bottling
plant on either side of the road. The community is alleging that the
Coca-Cola bottling plant illegally occupies another 1.5 acres of village
The community is also concerned about water shortages in the area
as a result of the extraction of water by the Coca-Cola bottling plant.
The area is already experiencing water shortages, and the villagers
point to other communities in India around Coca-Cola bottling plants
where the water crises have been severely exacerbated as a result
of Coca-Cola's operations
March to Coca-Cola Plant in Sinhachawar
The bottling plant in Sinhachawar is a Coca-Cola franchisee owned
unit operated by the Brindavan Bottlers Limited, which is owned by
India's largest bottler of Coca-Cola, the Ladhani Group of Companies.
The bottling plant is in the process of being bought by the Hindustan
Coca-Cola Beverages Private Ltd, the subsidiary of the Coca-Cola company.
The protest at the Coca-Cola bottling plant came a day after another
demonstration at the District Magistrate's office in Balia on October
23 where community members presented their demands to the District
The bottling plant has come under increased scrutiny after the community
visit to the plant which confirmed that Coca-Cola was carelessly and
illegally dumping its waste around the factory premises and into the
The head of the village council, Ms. Chinta Devi, has led the campaign
to permanently shut down the plant. Last month, the union of village
council heads in the district passed a resolution against the Coca-Cola
bottling plant, insisting that it be shut down.
The protest at the Coca-Cola bottling plant ended after community
members lodged a police report accusing the plant of pollution, illegal
land occupation and theft of water.
The Coca-Cola company's operations in India have been challenged by
various communities across India who are experiencing severe water
shortages as well as polluted water and land as a result of the company's
practices. The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada, one of the
company's largest in India, has been shut down since March 2004.
Rally at Coca-Cola Plant in Sinhachawar
The local campaigns to challenge Coca-Cola in India have found tremendous
support internationally, and particularly among college and university
students in the US, UK and Canada. Over twenty five colleges and universities
have taken actions against the Coca-Cola company.
The full report of the May visit to the Coca-Cola bottling plant with
images can be found at http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2007/cokebaliafact.html,
in Hindi at http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2007/baliahindireport.pdf
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
Rally at Coca-Cola Plant in Sinhachawar
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