Navdanya, the People’s Science Institute and the Friends of Doon — all local environment protection groups — have urged Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna to immediately cancel the memorandum of understanding signed with Coca-Cola that plans to set up a unit in Vikas Nagar area near here.

“We will never allow Coca-Cola to set up its plant in the ecologically sensitive Doon Valley as the plant, besides stealing our water, will pollute the groundwater with highly dangerous chemicals and metals causing untold misery to the local community and convert the neighbouring agricultural lands into wastelands,” said Vandana Shiva of Navdanya.

Florence Pandhi of the Friends of Doon recalled how activists had unitedly ousted the limestone mining mafia 30 years ago as unscientific mining was adversely affecting the water resources and climate of the Doon Valley. “We fought the limestone mafia successfully and the Doonites will not allow Coca-Cola to rob our natural resources,” she said.

Kerala precedent

Anil Gautam of the People’s Science Institute said the Coca-Cola threat was more than real as was evident from the plight of the people, agriculture and the depleting water resources of Plachimada in Kerala and Mehndiganj in Varanasi.

Avdhash Kaushal of the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra said water was the property of the community and no government had the right to sell it to any company. The effluents from the Coca-Cola factory would not only damage the aquifers but also adversely affect the local farmers.

  • Plant will pollute groundwater: Vandana Shiva

  • “Water belongs to people; government cannot sell it to any company”