Coca-Cola halts In­dia plant over pol­lu­tion is­sue

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

COCA-COLA has tem­po­rar­ily halted op­er­a­tions at a bot­tling plant in north­ern In­dia over al­leged en­vi­ron­men­tal vi­o­la­tions, an on­go­ing con­tro­versy which has dogged its fac­to­ries in the coun­try.

The bev­er­ages gi­ant told AFP it had vol­un­tar­ily sus­pended man­u­fac­tur­ing at its Dasna plant near New Delhi while the lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­ity in­ves­ti­gates.

Ac­tivists say the fac­tory in Ut­tar Pradesh state con­tam­i­nates ground­wa­ter meant for farm­ers and pol­lutes the soil, and that sewage is not prop­erly treated.

“We re­ceived a com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Ut­tar Pradesh State Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board [UPPCB] and sub­mit­ted a de­tailed re­sponse,” Hin­dus­tan Coca-Cola Bev­er­ages, which bot­tles drinks in In­dia for the US gi­ant, said.

“To show our com­mit­ment to com­pli­ance with reg­u­la­tory norms, we de­cided to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend man­u­fac­tur­ing at Dasna plant,” it said.

Some 54 plants pro­duce fizzy drinks in In­dia for Coca-Cola, which has eyed ex­pan­sion in the world’s sec­ond-most pop­u­lous coun­try where in­come lev­els are ris­ing.

But the At­lanta-based com­pany has met stiff op­po­si­tion from ac­tivists who have waged a more than decade­long bat­tle against it in In­dia over al­leged en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fences.

“We con­ducted an in­spec­tion and based on the find­ings, the UPPCB has with­held the con­sent to op­er­ate this Coca-Cola Plant in Dasna for some valid rea­sons,” SR Sachan, chief en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer at the Ut­tar Pradesh en­vi­ron­men­tal board said, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Coca-Cola, which has said it plans to in­vest US$5 bil­lion in In­dia by 2020, has faced a string of ob­jec­tions over the years from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties over wa­ter use.

In 2004, it shut one of its plants in south­ern Ker­ala state over sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions. The com­pany de­nies any wrong­do­ing. –

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