The company been given 15 days to respond to the memo.

Pepsi meets Cokes fate as Kerala Panchayat issues memo against drawing ground water
news Friday, May 13, 2016 - 14:19

Years after the Plachimada agitation led to the shutting down of the Coco Cola plant in Palakkad district, it’s now the turn of another soft drink giant Pepsi to land in a similar plight.

Owing to the severe water crisis this summer, the Puthussery panchayat in Palakkad issued a stop memo to the PepsiCo bottling plant on May 10 asking the company to stop drawing water in view of the severe drought-like situation in the district.

The panchayat authorities allege that the company -situated at Aalamaram in Kanjikode- draws close to ten lakh litres of water per day despite a cap of 5 lakh litres being in place according to a 2005 High Court order.

“Summer has always been harsh on Palakkad. This time however, it’s even worse and we are facing an acute water crisis, especially in Puthussery. Most wells located in and around the ten wards surrounding the Pepsi plant have already dried up. Since February this year, we have had to depend on tanker-water for daily use,” says K Unnikrishnan, panchayat president.

It is in this context that the panchayat has demanded that the plant either temporarily shut down its operations or considerably cut down on the amount of water being drawn on a daily basis.

Unnikrishnan reiterates that the water-table in the region has taken a tremendous dip and the panchayat is now forced to increase the depth in most surface-wells and bore-wells here in the hope of finding water.

According to him, since the plant started operations in 2007 -after being set up in 2001- not only has there been consistent violation of the ground water-limit drawn by Pepsi but panchayat members were also barred from entering the premises by plant authorities .

“Never have we been granted entry to the plant. It was for the first time since the plant started operations in 2007 that we entered the premises on Tuesday to hand over the memo in person,” shares Unnikrishnan.

He added that the company has been given 15 days to respond to the memo, failing which a mass agitation against the plant is in the offing.

 

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