Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down Mehadiganj in India, Authorities Cancel License

18 06 2014


June 18, 2014
 
Varanasi, India: Coca-Cola’s bottling plant has been shut down by state government authorities in Mehdiganj in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.
 
The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) ordered the plant to shut down because it found the company to be violating a number of conditions of its license, or “No Objection Certificate” (NOC).
 
The Pollution Control Board, in its order dated June 6, 2014 (which we obtained yesterday), noted that Coca-Cola had failed to obtain clearance to extract groundwater from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), a government agency that monitors and regulates ground water use in water-stressed areas. 
 
The groundwater in Mehdiganj has gone from “safe” category in 1999 when Coca-Cola started operations to “critical” in 2009, according to the CGWA.  As a result, more ground water use restrictions are in place, including on ground water use by farmers and the community for drinking water.
 
The closure is a major victory for the community in Mehdiganj which has actively engaged the UPPCB, CGWA and other government agencies to shut down Coca-Cola’s plant.  The campaign had also alerted the government to Coca-Cola’s failure to meet a key condition of a temporary license given to it – obtaining the clearance from the CGWA. The campaign, which enjoys widespread local support, had also sent letters from 15 village councils (panchayat) in April 2013 seeking closure of Coca-Cola’s plant.
 
UPPCB’s closure order also noted that Coca-Cola had increased its production capacity from 20,000 cases per day to 36,000 without the Board’s permission, and suggested that the company may have misled the Board about the actual amount of industrial waste discharge (which has remained constant, according to Coca-Cola, in spite of increasing production by 80%).   The Board also cast doubt on Coca-Cola’s waste treatment plant, noting that the “Treatment System/Plant” was not operating “smoothly/properly”.
 
Coca-Cola had been seeking to expand the capacity of its existing plant in Mehdiganj five-fold, part of its aggressive growth strategy of India which in 2012 announced an additional $5 billion investment by 2020 as sales in industrialized countries decline or stagnate due to health concerns. 
 
Coca-Cola has approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT), an environmental court in India, appealing against the decision of the UPPCB and has asked to be allowed to re-open its shut down facility.  The NGT has not yet allowed the plant to reopen in the three hearings so far. 
 
The closure of Coca-Cola’s bottling plant comes at the peak of Coca-Cola’s sales season in India, and the company has cited financial losses to the NGT as a reason for reopening the plant quickly.
 
Welcoming the closure of Coca-Cola’s plant, Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti who has spearheaded the local campaign said, “We knew it was a matter of time before the government acknowledged the demands of the community.  This is a great victory and a welcome confirmation that local communities can successfully take on big, powerful business.”
 
Coca-Cola’s expanded facility in Mehdiganj has already been built but has not been able to begin commercial operations.  The company also faces a major obstacle in its operations because some of the land acquired by Coca-Cola for its plant is community owned land and cannot be used for private purposes.  In December 2013, local authorities passed an order to evict Coca-Cola from the illegally occupied land but Coca-Cola approached the courts and obtained a stay order.
 
Coca-Cola has also been forced to shut down another bottling plant in India in 2004 – in Plachimada in the state of Kerala, and faces legislation holding it liable for $47 million in damages as a result of its operations.  The company is also the target of a major community campaign in Kala Dera in Rajasthan where the community is seeking closure of the bottling plant due to rapidly depleting ground water.  Most recently, Coca-Cola’s plants to build a new factory in Charba in Uttarakhand were defeated almost as soon as the proposal was made public in 2013, testament to how quickly and efficiently communities can organize and network in India against problematic companies such as Coca-Cola.
 
“Coca-Cola’s thirst for profits in India have placed its business interests over the well-being of communities and the environment and this is not acceptable as the community of Mehdiganj has shown.  We will ensure that Coca-Cola will face heightened scrutiny anywhere it plans to operate in India because the track record of the company is dismal”, said Amit Srivastava of the international campaigning group, India Resource Center.
 
Fore background on Mehdiganj and for more information visit www.IndiaResource.org
 
Contacts:
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti (Hindi) +91 94153 00520
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +91 98103 46161
 
—ends—
 

 


Nandlal Master
Lok Samiti
Varanasi U.P
www.loksamiti.org





Press Conference Invitation

18 06 2014

 INVITE: Press Conference by ADR on Fast Tracking of Cases Against Sitting Lok Sabha MPs. 20th June, 2014, 3:30 PM at Press Club of India, Delhi

From: ADR India <adr@adrindia.org> Wed, 18 Jun ’14 5:25p

To: adr india <adr@adrindia.org>

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Press Conference Invitation

You are cordially invited for a Press Conference by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) on ‘Fast tracking of cases against sitting Lok Sabha MPs’. ADR and NEW will also be releasing a list of sitting MPs who might face disqualification from the Parliament if convicted in the near future. 

Details of the Press Conference:

Topic: Fast tracking of cases against sitting Lok Sabha MPs

Venue: Press Club of India, 1 Raisina Road, New Delhi

Date: 20th June, 2014 Friday

Time: 3:30 PM

 

  

Media and Journalist Helpline

 

+91 80103 94248

Email: adr@adrindia.org

Maj Gen (Retd) Anil Verma

Head

National Election Watch,

Association for Democratic Reforms

+91 88264 79910

anilverma@adrindia.org

Prof Jagdeep Chhokar

IIM Ahmedabad (Retd.)

Founder Member,

National Election Watch, Association for Democratic

Reforms

+91 99996 20944

jchhokar@gmail.com

 

Prof Trilochan Sastry

IIM Bangalore

Founder Member,

National Election Watch,

Association for Democratic Reforms

+91 94483 53285

trilochans@iimb.ernet.in

 

 

 

Association for Democratic Reforms

“Kiwanis Centre”, 4th Floor,

B-35, Qutub Institutional Area

(Near Rockland Hospital)

New Delhi-110 016

 

T: +91 11 41654200





IDEA OF INDIA NATIONAL CONVENTION

18 06 2014

BLOCK YOUR DATES (CPA)
From: Centre for Policy Analysis <mahalingamcpa@gmail.com> Wed, 18 Jun ’14 2:53p
To: martin luther <he_man724@yahoo.com>
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1 attachment
 
 
IDEA OF INDIA NATIONAL CONVENTION
July 4-5, 2014, New Delhi

 
The programme invite will follow soon

Call to JOIN US

Central to our idea of India is the affirmation of its diversity. The India we are part of belongs equally to all persons who make it its own – no matter what their religious faith (or the lack of it), their gender, caste, class, language, physical abilities and sexual orientation. The bedrock of the Indian republic is the promise that all its citizens can find space in which to practise their beliefs and cultures, and live freely, confident they will be equally protected by the law of the land. 
This inclusive idea of India was stressed by Dr Ambedkar as the essential democratic idea of fraternity. This larger idea of fraternity or social solidarity also leads to the idea of the good state as one which defends the oppressed and disadvantaged, and ensures their access to basic rights necessary for a life with dignity.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares this idea of India. There is another idea of India, an idea of majoritarian domination, which is alien to the social and political philosophy on which this country was built and consolidated. 
This is what this other idea of India leads to. Riots, polarisation. The pulling back of the state from public expenditure on health, education and nutrition in favour of large subsidies to the private sector, weakening of labour and environmental protections, and the theft of natural resources in the name of development. And to enable all of this, a curbing of freedom so people can be told what to think, read, write, say, paint.
For instance: riots have been and are being engineered to polarise communities. Whether in Muzzafarnagar or the Bodo areas in Assam, or more recently in Pune, targeted hate violence is cynically used for electoral benefits. In places such as Bellary or Mundra, big capital seeks to appropriate natural resources, destroying people’;s livelihoods in the process. And as for freedom of speech and the right to dissent – rights that underpin Indian diversity – they are under attack on numerous fronts. 
A number of self-appointed custodians tell us what we should not read or write, and how we should not behave. They seek to tell us what Indian Culture is, as if we are not part of this culture with all its rich multiplicity. They want to ban books; tell people who they can or cannot marry, what clothes they should not wear, what foods they should not eat. They want to make a list of rules for young and old in their use of the social media. 
To discuss our Idea of India as distinct from theirs — particularly in the light of the recent Lok Sabha elections — we plan a two day national convention and seminar on 4 and 5 July, 2014, in Delhi. We will bring together many public intellectuals and human rights and other activists so we can all speak to each other, and understand the contemporary practice of this Idea of India and the challenges it faces today. If we evaluate it in all its complexity, we can move toward strengthening the collective practice of the idea of India -– whether social, economic, or political -– and build resistance against attacks on the rich and diverse nature of the Indian nation. 
We appeal to all of you – secular and democratic citizens, movements and groups – to join us in this conference and help us move forward. We will send you more details presently.

 

Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Anand Patwardhan, Balachander Mungekar, Githa Hariharan, Girish Karnad Harsh Mander, Indira Jaisingh, John Dayal, Kancha Illiah, K Sachitanand, KN Pannikar, Kolse Patil Mahesh Bhatt, Mallika Sarabhai, Nandita Das, Nayantara Sahgal, Prabhat Patnaik, Prabir Purkayastha Ram Puniyani, Romila Thapar, Rooprekha Verma, Saeed Mirza, Seema Mustafa, Shabnam Hashmi, SP Shukla, Syeda Hameed, Vivan Sundaram, Zaheeruddin Ali Khan

E-mail : ideaofindiaconclave@gmail.com

 
 

 
Dr.Mahalingam M
Research Fellow
Centre for Policy Analysis
C-17, Second Floor,
Green Park Extension,
New Delhi – 110016
Ph:- 011-26176992





Transport & Health – Final e-invite

18 06 2014

 
From: Mahesh Gaur <maheshgaur@gmail.com> Wed, 18 Jun ’14 5:25p
To: Geetam Tiwari <geetamt@gmail.com>
Show full Headers
 

 
 
We thank you for your participation at the First workshop held on 27th May at India Habitat Centre.  
In continuation of these series of workshops, you are invited for the next workshop as per following:
 
Title:  Transport and Health
Day & Date: Monday, 30 June 2014
Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Place:  Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre
 
We would be obliged if you make it convenient.  We take this liberty to request you for forwarding the invitation to the interested/concerned professional/person you may think fit.  
 
Attached herewith the e-invitation containing the details of the workshop for your advance information.
 
Looking forward your active participation.
 
Best regards,
 
 

 

 


Mahesh Gaur
Project Officer
TRIPP, IITD
91-11-26596361; (F): 26858703
http://tripp.iitd.ernet.in

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