Coca-Cola responsible for water scarcity, says Varanasi villagers

An environmental campaign group says that eighteen village councils in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh had blamed a local Coca-Cola bottling plant for water scarcity in the area demanding that it must be prohibited from extracting water from the ground.

The villages in the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed they have been facing this problem since 1999 when the plant its operations.

"Elected village council heads represent the voice of the people, and they are clear that Coca-Cola is not welcome in Mehdiganj. It is time for Coca-Cola to pack up and leave", said Amit Srivastava of the California-based India Resource Center, which is supporting the village councils.

"Coca-Cola paints a pretty picture of itself internationally as a responsible user of water, but the reality in India is that it exploits groundwater at the expense of the poor, the women, children, farmers and livestock who have to live with less water because Coca-Cola mines groundwater in a water scarce area for profit."

The councils of 18 villages have written to State Pollution Control Board which granted a license to Coca-Cola urging them to ban the company from extracting any more groundwater in the area.

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