Will multinational soft drink companies never learn to value natural resources? While Coca-Cola is still in the middle of a controversy over unmindful groundwater exploitation in Kerala's Palakkad district, Pepsi is now charged with a similar crime. In a petition to prime minister Manmohan Singh, the Forum on Social and Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation, alleges that Pepsi is drawing millions of litres of water daily at Madhurvada village in Andhra Pradesh's Vishakhapatnam district. The Pepsi plant there has reportedly dug 40 borewells, causing a sharp decline in the water table.
The Coca-Cola plant in Palakkad remained closed for over two years, as the Perumatty gram panchayat waged a legal battle against it (see Down To Earth, 'Calling the shots', December 15, 2003). But it was recently permitted by the Kerala High Court to resume production (see Down To Earth , 'Coke High', May 15, 2005). The battle has now shifted to the Supreme Court
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