Water shortage shuts Coca-Cola plants in India

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Added On February 19, 2016

Coca-Cola has suspended manufacturing at three locations in India citing absence of "long-term economic viability". 
 
The action could have also been influenced by years of protest by the local residents against the company's bottling operations, which allegedly results in water shortage and pollution in the surrounding area.
 
LIFESTYLES has the story.
 
72-year-old Narayan Yadav and his son went into big trouble after they spent a great amount of money to dig a bore-well to irrigate his farmland of about four hectares.
 
They failed to get the water even after digging as deep as over 270 meters. All the money has gone waste and it has made them bankrupt. 
 
SOUNDBITE: NARAYAN YADAV, Farmer 
Groundwater level in our area has gone down drastically because of Coca-Cola. They have pulled more water underground than anybody could think of.
 
There are thousands of people who are experiencing the same tragedy in more than 50 villages in and around "Kaladera", an area in India's desert province of Rajasthan.
 
Rameshwar Kuri, a farmer who presided over the protest against Coca-Cola since 2003 revealed that the groundwater was easily available at about 10 meters before Coca-Cola plant was set up here in 1999. 
 
Half of Kuri's five acres of farmland has gone arid and barren due to shortage of water. 
 
The closure of Coca-cola plants gave him a bit of relief but he is now demanding compensation for the damage already done to his farmland and his life. 
 
SOUNDBITE: RAMESHWAR KURI, Farmer
We will have to stay here. We can not leave our homes. We Will do farming here even with less water. We will use water only for drinking and will stop farming in case of further shortage of water. But in any case, we have to remain confined to this village only. Coca-Cola however has many other options to go since it's a global company which has plants in so many countries...We are demanding that Coca-Cola should compensate to all the farmers living in the periphery of five kilometers around the plant. Because Coca-Cola is drawing around 60 billion Indian rupees from India, so they should compensate to the losses they have done to the farmers here.  
 
According to the local people, the ground water which is contaminated heavily with fluoride and other hazardous chemicals has started causing health problems to the residents. And the ripple effects of it is only to grow in future.
 
Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola co. said that the plants will still be used for storage purpose and could be reopened, should there be demand in future.