Protest Over Plan to Supply Drinking Water to Coca-Cola
by P. Samuel Jonathan
The Hindu
May 13, 2015

Tenali: A resolution passed recently by Tenali Municipal Corporation to allot 5 million litres a day from the pipeline carrying drinking water from River Krishna to Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Plant, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, at Atmakur gram panchayat is stoking a major controversy. The YSR Congress on Tuesday enforced a bandh in the town protesting against the decision.

The civic body passed the resolution recently conceding the request by the plant located between Mangalagiri and Pedavadlapudi for drawing 5 MLD. The YSR Congress staged a walk out while the CPI (M) and the Congress also opposed the move.

“The resolution is most undemocratic and unjust. How can a beverages plant allowed to draw water from a drinking water pipeline designed to cater to the needs of the town? I am sure that this resolution will not stand legal scrutiny,” said former Speaker Nadendla Manohar.

The protected water scheme designed to pump water from River Krishna was proposed during 2004 -2009 with an initial outlay of Rs. 70 crore. A pump house was built at Undavalli and a filtration plant with a capacity of 30.50 MLD was built in Tenali during 2009-2014.

Over Head Service Reservoirs and internal pipeline work was completed at a cost of Rs.100 crore just before the elections in 2014.

The scheme has been designed to meet the drinking water requirements of the town, now part of CRDA and a potential hub of services and tourism industry, till the year 2038. The present population of the town is about 3 lakh but was expected to swell quickly in the coming years.

The civic authorities, however, justified the decision and said the allotment was being done to meet the operational costs of the scheme. “Though the water scheme has a capacity of 30.50 million litres per day (MLD), we are using 22 MLD. We also have to think of meeting the financial commitment for the project which is close to Rs. 2 crore,'' said Municipal Commissioner Sakuntala.

On the other hand, the town which has over 30,000 households has just 1500 water connections. “Most people draw water from hand pumps. It takes some more time to make them pay for usage of water,'' the Commissioner said.

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