Authorities Seal Pepsi Bottler's Groundwater Source

Move comes after local villagers protest, claiming drop in ground water levels

Business Standard
January 30, 2015

Chennai: The bottling plant of LA Bottlers Pvt Ltd in Tiruchi, one of the co-packers for PepsiCo in India, has been closed after the local authorities sealed two of its borewells. The development comes after villagers complained the groundwater level was dropping due to the plant.

Located at Sooraiyur, the company has invested Rs 60-70 crore in this facility. Last year, it clocked around Rs 100 crore turnover. The plant employs around 300 people directly and indirectly. Managing Director A Joseph Francis was not available for comment.

“As a law-abiding citizen, we have high respect for and follow all laws of the countries in which we operate. We also expect our partners/co-packers to do the same. We have just learnt about this development and are getting further details. It is too early to comment,” said PepsiCo India’s spokesperson.

Villagers have been repeatedly protesting against this plant and due to this, the number of borewells were brought down to two from six, said a company source. He said the company had been taking groundwater as prescribed by the local authorities when the licence was given.

He also alleged non-government organisations were behind the protest, having spreading wrong messages.

Two weeks earlier, village residents had asked the district collector to cancel the licence of the unit. Talks between the company and the villagers on January 21 did not elicit any major outcome, said sources.

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