PRESS: Coca-Cola Expansion Plans Rejected

Campaign Defeats Coca-Cola Ambitions in India

For Immediate Release
August 22, 2014

New Delhi, India: Coca-Cola’s application to expand its bottling plant in Mehdiganj, Varanasi in India has been rejected by the government, according to sources close to the India Resource Center.

The Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCBPL), a subsidiary of the Atlanta, US based Coca-Cola Company, had applied in 2012 to the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), to expand its groundwater allowance in Mehdiganj five-fold – from 50,000 cubic meters to 250,000 cubic meters annually.

The India Resource Center has led the opposition to Coca-Cola’s expansion plans in Mehdiganj and has also called for the closure of Coca-Cola’s current operations due to the worsening groundwater situation.

The groundwater conditions in the area have gone from “safe” category, when Coca-Cola began operations in June 1999 to “critical” in 2009, according to the Indian government agency responsible for regulating groundwater, the Central Ground Water Authority.

The public disclosure that Coca-Cola’s application to expand was rejected by the CGWA was slated to be made on August 25, 2014, before the National Green Tribunal where Coca-Cola has appealed the closure of its current bottling plant.

Anticipating that the local and international campaigns had succeeded in getting the application for expansion rejected, and in order to save face, the Coca-Cola Company has written a letter to the chief secretary of the state of Uttar Pradesh and the UP Pollution Control Board in the last week stating that the company was “not to pursue the expansion” of the plant, according to sources close to India Resource Center.

Coca-Cola has cited “inordinate delay” which has caused the company “financial losses” as the reason for no longer pursuing the expansion plans in Mehdiganj in Varanasi.

“We expected the Indian government to reject Coca-Cola’s expansion plans because of all the research and documentation we provided that confirmed that it would make a bad groundwater situation even worse’” said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center.

“Our focus now returns to shutting down Coca-Cola’s current bottling operations in Mehdiganj, which are illegal, unethical and most importantly, opposed by the vast majority of the people in the area,” said Srivastava.

Coca-Cola has identified India as a major market where it seeks to derive significant future profits, particularly since Coca-Cola products are being shunned by consumers in the US and other industrialized countries where Coca-Cola sales and profits are on the decline or stagnant due to major health concerns.

The India Resource Center will have a more updated press release on Monday, August 25, 2014 after the hearing at the National Green Tribunal.

For background information, visit www.IndiaResource.org


Contact: Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +91 98103 46161 (India) +1 415 336 7584 (US) E: info@IndiaResource.org Skype: amit-on-skype

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