Thousands March and Rally Against Coca-Cola
"Drinking Coke is Like Drinking Farmer's Blood in India"
For Immediate Release
November 14, 2004
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti (Hindi only) +91 94153 00520 (Translations
can be arranged by contacting Amit Srivastava)
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center Email: amit(AT)IndiaResource.org
Nov 14-16 (US) +1 415 336 7584, Nov 17-21 (UK) +44 7731 865591, Nov
22-25 (India) +91 98103 46161
Varanasi, India (November 14, 2004): A 250 km march
between two Coca-Cola bottling facilities in India is underway to
bring attention to problems created by the Coca-Cola company in India.
Thousands of people are expected to take part in the march and rally
between two Coca-Cola bottling plants - in Ballia and Mehdiganj -
both in the state of Uttar Pradesh, from November 15-24, 2004. The
march will end will a large rally in Mehdiganj, near the holy city
of Varanasi, on November 24.
Marchers are calling for the revocation of Coca-Cola's license to
operate because of severe hardships created for communities as a result
of water shortages and pollution created by the Coca-Cola company.
The march comes after a series of defeats for the Coca-Cola company
across India, through orders by the courts and various government
A pattern has emerged as a result of Coca-Cola's bottling operations
in India. Communities living around the bottling facilities are experiencing
severe water shortages, and the remaining scarce groundwater, along
with the soil, has been polluted by Coca-Cola's practice of dumping
its wastewater into the nearby fields. There are also serious irregularities
in the manner in which Coca-Cola has acquired the land for its bottling
facility, and many farmers are yet to be compensated for the use of
Over 70% of Indians make a living related to agriculture, and water
shortages and pollution of the groundwater and soil by Coca-Cola in
India has had a disastrous impact on communities, particularly farmers
and low-income communities.
"Drinking Coke is like drinking farmer's blood in India," said Nandlal
Master of Lok Samiti and the National Alliance of People's Movements,
a key organizer of the march and rally. "Coca-Cola is creating thirst
in India, and is directly responsible for the loss of livelihood and
even hunger for thousands of people across India," continued Master.
"Water and land are essential to life, and challenging Coca-Cola is
a fight for our survival. We have to shut it down," said Nandlal Master.
Coca-Cola has become the target of numerous communities across India
who are demanding that Coca-Cola shut down its bottling facility because
of water shortages and pollution. The single largest Coca-Cola bottling
facility in India, in Plachimada, Kerala, remains shut down because
the local village council (panchayat) is refusing to issue it a license
to operate. Community leaders from Coca-Cola affected communities
across India are also joining the march and rally in Uttar Pradesh.
"Coca-Cola will pay for its crimes in India and internationally,"
said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, a group that works
with local groups in India to coordinate the campaign internationally.
"We will take this battle to where it hurts Coca-Cola the most- the
US and the European Union, its largest markets." The international
campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable has also joined forces with
the Colombian trade union, Sinaltrainal. Coca-Cola is charged with
complicity in the murder, torture and intimidation of trade union
organizers at its bottling facilities in Colombia.
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org