Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has demanded that the President Smt Pratibha Patil should grant her assent to the Plachimada Tribunal Bill without delay and the Coca-Cola Plachimada plant in Kerala be closed with immediate effect. It also demanded immediate release of the arrested agitators unconditionally, failing which nationwide agitation would be started. It warned that the Central government will be responsible for any untoward incident if happens during the agitation.
In a statement issued in New Delhi recently SJM spokesperson Dr Ashwini Mahajan said the residents of a village in Kerala have been agitating against soft drink company Coca-Cola for excessive water usage and water pollution which has caused severe water crisis. Local people have been staging dharna against the company under the banner of Plachimada Sangharsh Committee for the last one decade. This struggle is for the rights of local people against the Coca-Cola company. As per the Coca-Cola company’s own admission, the company draws nearly 5,10,000 litres underground water daily. But according to local people, company actually draws nearly 3 times more water. Due to continued struggle of the people a Bill known as Plachimada Tribunal Bill was passed by the Kerala Assembly for compensating local people, which was sent to the President for ascent. But instead of granting the ascent, the Bill has reportedly been returned to the State government allegedly under pressure of the Coca-Cola company.
Against the misuse of scarce water resources, water pollution and its adverse effects on health, convener of Plachimada Sangharsh Samiti and organiser of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, South India, Shri KV Biju along with hundreds of local people agitated against Coca-Cola company on December 16. the police arrested 22 agitators including 4 women.