We hear haughty talks of decentralization and “power to the people” through the Panchayati Raj but it seems that the MNCs and even the Indian courts think otherwise. I once wrote about a High Court order that allowed Coke to resume production at its Plachimada, Kerala plant despite of the village council objections. It is ludicrous that in a decision that affects the community its members have no say at all. The people at Plachimada have seen severe water shortages after Coke began its operations there. Another cause of concern is that the remaining groundwater as well as soil has been polluted because of their bottling operations. It is also alleged that Coke was also dumping its solid waste as fertilizer to the farmers. These have been found to contain high levels of lead and cadmium. Coke has several other such plants in Uttar Pradesh as well. The company’s products have been under criticism when they were found to contain extremely high levels of pesticides by the Delhi based NGO, Center for Science and Environment.
Amongst this, it’s encouraging to note that the Plachimada community is undeterred after the recent court ruling that undermines their 3-year struggle. They are now contemplating to make an appeal to Supreme Court. If you wish to support their campaign, you may register it online, here.