Community Rallies for Coca-Cola Plant Closure
Demands that Coke Study Recommendations be Implemented
For Immediate Release
August 26, 2008
Rameshwar Kudi, Kala Dera Jan Sangharsh Samiti, India (Hindi only)
+91 94140 49053
Mahesh Yogi, Kala Dera Jan Sangharsh Samiti, India (Hindi only) +91
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center, US + 1 415 336 7584
Kala Dera, India (August 26, 2008): Residents living around Coca-Cola's
bottling plant in Kala Dera, near Jaipur in Rajasthan, India marched
and rallied yesterday demanding the closure of the bottling plant.
Nearly 60 villages surrounding Coca-Cola's bottling plant in Kala
Dera have complained of severe water shortages since the bottling
plant began operations in the area.
The Central Ground Water Board of India declared the groundwater resources
in Kala Dera area as "overexploited" in 1998, two years prior to Coca-Cola's
decision to locate its bottling plant and begin operations.
"Why did Coca-Cola begin its operations in Kala Dera when the government
had already confirmed that the communities are experiencing water
shortages?," asked Rameshwar Kudi, a community leader with the Kala
Dera Jan Sangharsh Samiti who has been leading the community campaign
Government records have also confirmed that the groundwater levels
in Kala Dera have fallen nearly 10 meters in just the first four years
of Coca-Cola's operations.
A sustained international campaign against Coca-Cola forced the company
to agree to an independent assessment of its bottling operations in
India. The assessment, conducted by Coca-Cola's ally in India, The
Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), looked at six bottling plants
in 2007, including Kala Dera and confirmed the concerns of the community.
In a damning indictment of Coca-Cola's operations in Kala Dera and
India, the TERI assessment concluded that the Coca-Cola company operated
on a principle dedicated just to "business continuity", and community
water issues had been completely neglected.
The report made four recommendations for the Coca-Cola bottling plant
in Kala Dera – making it clear that Coca-Cola could not continue to use the groundwater in Kala Dera:
The Coca-Cola company has ignored the recommendations of the assessment – which it paid for and also helped design – so far.
"We want Coca-Cola to implement the recommendations made by the TERI
assessment immediately," said Mahesh Yogi, convener of the Kala Dera
Jan Sangharsh Samiti which organized Monday's march and rally. "Coca-Cola
is destroying the lives and livelihoods of thousands of farmers and
their families in the area, and we will increase the pressure on Coca-Cola
to shut down the plant."
"There is a serious disconnect between Coca-Cola's rhetoric at the
Olympics, where it spent hundreds of millions of dollars to sell itself
as a hydration company, and on the ground in India, where communities
are left dehydrated as a result of the company's thirst for water,"
said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international
campaigning organization that works directly with communities in India
to challenge Coca-Cola's abuses.
"We will continue to campaign internationally until Coca-Cola shuts
down its plant in Kala Dera and cleans up its act in India."
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
- Transport water from the nearest aquifer that may not be stressed
- Store water from low-stress seasons
- Relocate the plant to a water-surplus area
- Shut down the facility
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