Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is India. Water is important globally.

July 15, 2017

The protracted legal battle between the tribals of Plachimada (click here) and the beverage behemoth, Coca-Cola drew to a close on Thursday as the latter made a submission before the Supreme Court that it had no intention of restarting operations at its contentious facility in central Kerala. Here is all you need to know about the long drawn out dispute:

Where is Plachimada?

Plachimada is a sparsely populated tribal hamlet in Perumatty panchayat in Palakkad district. Data from the latest round of the socio-economic census reveals that 60% of the population is engaged in agriculture. This corresponds to 2,303 of the 3,802 people who are of working-age in Perumatty, highlighting the importance of agriculture to the local community.

When did Coca-Cola set up shop in Plachimada?

The Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of the Atlanta-based manufacturer of aerated drinks, erected its factory in a 38-acre plot in Plachimada in 1999. The plant is situated in the midst of agricultural land, which has historically belonged to the Adivasis.

To the right - Mayilamma was an Indian social activist whose claim to fame was the campaign against Coca-Cola company in Plachimada in Palakkad, Kerala. She belonged to a native tribal community. She was the recipient of the Speak Out award by Outlook magazine and the Sthree Shakthi Award.

Palakkad is also known as the rice bowl of Kerala. In its halcyon days, before the company's relationship with the locals soured, the facility employed 284 people. Audits reveal that around 600 cases comprising of 24 bottles of 300ml capacity each, were produced every day....

Corporate America and Wall Street in general should pay attention to bad press. Seriously. Coca-Cola is not Exxonmobile either. Coca-Cola is far more softer than Exxonmobile. I am sure Coke took the objections seriously otherwise it would not have been so very protracted. 

Water rights were cited by the USA military as a problem during the climate crisis. They know what they were assessing.