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India: Coke, Pepsi attacked over ground water issue

New Delhi, Sep 20. (PTI): After the issue of pesticide content in colas, Coke and Pepsi today came under attack from some social organisations for alleged excessive use of ground water and causing pollution.

"Coke and Pepsi are engaged in a water war against India. Their bottling plants are stealing millions of litres of water, denying local communities their fundamental right to water," social activist Vandana Shiva of Navdanya alleged.

Activists from 13 states have launched a campaign, organised by Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Navdanya and Azadi Bachao Andolan, against alleged mining and polluting of ground water, she told reporters here.

A Coke spokesperson, meanwhile, said: "We comply with all national regulatory norms. The report of Water Resources Ministry, prepared by Rajasthan Pollution Control Board and Central Water Commission, states there is no depletion of water level or decrease in quality of the ground water in and around the area where Coke has bottling plants. We also have water harvesting plants where we have bottling plants".

Citing a Kerala High Court order that "(ground) water belongs to people, not to Coke and Pepsi...", she said the campaign was in "defence of our constitutional right to life".

The "struggle" for the cause has begun in parts of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, she added. Pepsi officials were not available for comment.

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