Jun 20 2014
In a major victory for activists working on behalf of farmers and consumers in India, a Coca Cola bottling plant in Varanasi was ordered shut down this week by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board.
In an area where farmers have trouble finding sufficient water for their crops, the Coca Cola bottling plant in Mehdiganj was found to have decimated ground water supplies down to critical levels as well as releasing excessive amounts of industrial waste. Just this morning however, a court has ordered a stay allowing the plant to remain temporarily open pending an appeal.
Although activists had been protesting for over a decade to shut down the plant, production had actually doubled in size over the plant’s 15 year existence.
The company faced similar problems in 2004 when it was forced to shut down its plant in Plachimada, Kerala for similar reasons. A plant in Rajasthan’s Kaladera region has also faced opposition over its depletion of water sources.
With soft drink sales declining in industrialized nations, Coca Cola has planned a $5 billion dollar expansion throughout India which currently has 58 bottling plants.
GUEST: Aneel Karnani, Associate Professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan