Tag Archives: Coca Cola

BJP attacks soft drink ads, singles out Aamir

MOHUA CHATTERJEE, ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK, AUGUST 4, 2006
NEW DELHI: With Coke and Pepsi coming under the pesticide scanner again and Parliament debating the issue with full steam, BJP on Thursday used the opportunity to attack actor Aamir Khan for appearing as the brand ambassador for Coca Cola. The opposition party also demanded that ad campaigns for Coke and Pepsi should be banned.
As if waiting for a chance to get at the Bollywood Khan for having taken a stand against raising the height of the Narmada Dam, which the BJP-ruled government in Gujarat was in favour of, the party took a dig at him saying: “Those people like Aamir Khan who are concerned about farmers getting their share, should realise that a lot of water is used up by plants where aerated drinks are produced.”
Though demanding a ban on Coke and Pepsi advertising campaigns would also affect other Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai, BJP spokesperson V K Malhotra made it a point to name Aamir Khan.
At the height of the Narmada dam controversy when Medha Patkar’s Narmada Bachao Andolan had locked horns with some state governments, most of which are BJP-ruled, in the rehabilitation versus raising-the-dam-height issue, Aamir Khan had supported NBA and openly criticised the Gujarat government, taking an anti-Narendra Modi stand.
As a fall-out, his film Fanaa was banned in Gujarat when it was released soon after the controversy and when Aamir Khan refused to apologise to the “people of Gujarat” though BJP leaders, including Shatrughan Sinha, demanded it from him.
Not having forgotten the stand that the actor took against the party’s pet chief minister, BJP on Thursday was quick to settle scores with Khan.

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Villagers begin hunger strike to demand government action against Coca-Cola

JUNE 27, 2006
Villagers in Mehdiganj in north India are on a hunger strike to demand the closure of the Coca-Cola bottling plant. Community leaders have accused the Coca-Cola bottling plant in of creating severe water shortages affecting over twenty villages, polluting agricultural land and groundwater, illegally occupying land, evading taxes and treating workers unfairly. The hunger strike comes exactly 3 months after the community initiated an indefinite vigil directly in front of the Coca-Cola factory. Community leaders have been frustrated by the lack of action from the government, and have embarked upon the hunger strike to emphasize the severity of the situation facing the communities.
SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY BY SENDING A FREE FAX TO COCA-COLA
http://www.indiaresource.org/action/faxcoke.php
The Case Against Coca-Cola in Mehdiganj
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2006/1070.html

Kerala government assures proactive action against Coca-Cola

In a major breakthrough for the campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable, the newly elected state government of Kerala in south India has assured community leaders that the government will take proactive measures against the Coca-Cola bottling plant in south India. Key community leaders met with the Chief Minister, Mr. V. S. Achutanandan, and cabinet members on June 15 and submitted a memorandum outlining their demands, including the permanent shut down of the Plachimada bottling plant, compensation to affected community members and the prosecution of the Coca-Cola company for criminal offences. The meeting resulted in significant commitments from the state government towards resolving the crisis.
Health minister urges celebrities not to endorse soft drinks
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2006/1065.html

Coca-Cola Accused Over Uzbek Venture
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2006/1068.html
Mehdiganj: Bottling Livelihoods
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2006/1060.html

California, LA sue Coca-Cola over lead paint in labels
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2006/1063.html
Race bias suit against Coca-Cola bottling to move toward trial
http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2006/1066.html
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Caca-Cola: it's Coke with bits in

DINESH NARAYAN, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
caca-cola1.jpg
MUMBAI: Multinational corporate soft drinks maker Coca-Cola regularly pays off its vendors to keep quiet when substances such as tobacco pouches, dirt and fungus show up in its beverages, classified documents of the company’s marketing arm reveal.
A confidential memo and correspondences between officials of Hindustan Coca-Cola Marketing Company in ToI’s possession suggests that such substances are frequently found in its products and the practice of giving complimentary products to vendors is routine.
The December 2005 memo lists 17 shops and restaurants across the city that returned soft drinks such as Coke, Limca, Thums Up and Maaza because they contained stuff like dirt, thermocol, tobacco pouches, fungus and, on at least one occasion, a blade. The company compensated them with several crates of products worth thousands of rupees.
Consider the evidence: a Mazgaon restaurateur returned a bottle of Fanta with a pouch in it and two Maaza bottles with dirt.
In return, the company placated him with 40 cases of soft drinks worth Rs 6,000. Another restaurant in Matunga got 10 crates of soft drinks worth over Rs 2,000 for a bottle of Thums Up which had a pouch inside. One crate priced at Rs 216 contains two dozen beverage bottles.
An Andheri restaurateur in the western suburbs who has had to face angry customers about four times last year over contaminated bottles said that Coca-Cola representatives were quite insensitive to the issue.
“I do not want compensation from the company. If they cannot prevent it, they should at least tell people not to drink straight from the bottle. Instead their promotional campaigns show models gulping down cola straight from the bottle,” he said.
He added that e-mails to company officials go unreplied and representatives blame it on transporters and adulterators.
Coca-Cola, whose bottling plant in Plachimada village in Kerala is facing charges of polluting local water sources, admits that there were some instances when it had to replace contaminated products. However, it is not willing to admit error.
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“On analysis of most cases, the products were found to be spurious. In some cases, the bottles have also been found to be tampered with,” a spokesperson of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages wrote to TOI.
Replacing a stray faulty bottle is one thing, but routinely giving several crates of free products is quite another.

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Thousands in human chain protests at Coke, Pepsi plants in India

MANDIDEEP, BHOPAL (AFP) Jan 20, 2005

Thousands of students and farmers on Thursday surrounded Pepsi and Coca-Cola factories in a “Quit India” campaign, accusing the US giants of selling soft drinks laced with pesticides.

They lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in a five-kilometre (three-mile) chain around a Pepsi bottling plant at this central Indian township, an AFP correspondent reported.

The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), which organised the protests, said nearly 100,000 people targeted more than 80 soft drink plants across India.

Villagers and onlookers joined in at Mandideep as several thousand protestors carried banners demanding the closure of both companies in India.

“The factories must close down as they are not only are guilty of uncertain standards in their drinks but they are also depleting groundwater,” said protester Vinay Sagar.

“We are very worried by the continuous degradation which the company has caused to the groundwater in the region,” said Sagar, saying Pepsi daily extracts 200,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of ground water from the parched region.

Mandideep is some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the central Indian city of Bhopal, which 20 years ago was devastated by the world’s deadliest industrial disaster when toxic gas leaked from a Union Carbide pesticides plant killing thousands.

Most of the protestors then moved to Pilukhedi, some 40 kilometresmiles) the other side of Bhopal, where they surrounded a Coca-Cola factory — one of the biggest bottling plants in the country.

RFSTE reported similar protests at Pepsi and Coke plants in cities such as Bombay, capital of western Maharastra state, But a Pepsi spokeswoman said about 20 schoolchildren turned up at one of the company’s 37 plants in western India.

In December the Supreme Court upheld a lower court judgement ordering Pepsi and Coca-Cola to print warnings on their bottles in India that the drinks may contain pesticide residues.

The US firms deny their drinks pose health hazards.

The cola rivals, which account for 99 percent of India’s huge soft drinks market, have joined forces in the two-year legal battle that rumbles on.

Their lawyers said use of pesticides in agriculture resulted in trace residues in sugar.

The US drinks manufacturers are not only under fire over pesticide residues but also over allegations they are draining areas of groundwater.

Attempts to close a Coca-Cola plant in drought-hit Plachimada village in southern Kerala state have become an environmental cause celebre.

Environmentalists charge it is extracting groundwater and parching the region where farmers have been badly hit, but the companies say they use a miniscule amount of water.

The “Quit India” slogan used by the environmentalists was coined by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 during the struggle against British colonial rule.

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Urgent Action Alert: Coca Cola pollution protestors arrested, falsely accused

Kerala: people protesting the Coca Cola Plachimada facility’s contamination of local groundwater and land – with toxins such as cadmium and lead – are experiencing repression at the hands of local police and company hirelings. 13 peaceful protestors – two of whom are leading activists against Coca Cola – have been arrested and falsely accused of trying to destroy company property. During 480 days of non-stop peaceful protests there have been over 300 arrests so far, after Coca Cola managers announced that the demonstrations, which have been supported by writers, poets, academics, scientists, engineers and health personnel amongst others, were “politically motivated”. The demonstrators, primarily adivasis, believe that Coca Cola is attempting to depict their protests as ‘extremist’ in order to bring them under the ambit of State anti-terrorist measures – and the local police seem to be obliging the company managers.

Please write to the Keralan Chief Minister to demand the unconditional release of the protestors and the withdrawal of false charges.

ACTIVISTS ARRESTED. ATTEMPT BY THE POLICE AND GOVERNMENT TO
FALSELY IMPLICATE THEM TO CRUSH THE STRUGGLE.

13 activists were arrested on 30 August 2003 at Palakkad when they were holding a peaceful demonstration in front of the Kerala Ground Water Board. The demonstration was organised by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Kerala to voice their protest against the inefficieancy of the Board in tackling the ground water problems created by Coca Cola Plachimada unit despite daily protests since 22 April 2002 by primarily the Adivasis who are the worst affected. Various government departments had also confirmed the existance of the problems – all related to the ground water.

Amongst the arrested were Venugopal Vilayodi, the General Secretary of PUCL-Kerala and Arumugham Pathichira both of whom are also key activists and leaders of the Coca-Cola Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samiti (Anti Coca Cola Peoples Struggle Committee) who has been spearheading this long drawn out struggle.

The arrested have been remanded for 5 days and falsely accused of attempting to destroy the office etc in an attempt to falsely and deliberately create an image of being ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’. The Revenue Divisional Officer, the DySP and other Senior Police officials were involved in the swoop to arrest the peaceful slogan shouting protesters. It may be recalled that a few days earlier, on 28 August 2003, the Coca Cola godown at Kochi (more than 200 kms away from Plachimada) was set on fire which has been widely publicised by the police and the media as possibly the handiwork of ‘extremists’.

THE DIFFERENCE

There have been numerous arrests (over 300 arrests made at different times) times in the past over 480 days of continuous non-stop agitations. Ever since the Coca Cola Company announced that the struggle was ‘politically motivated’ it was clear that the struggle was planned to be crushed under the garb of fighting ‘extremism’ and ‘terrorism’.

It is noteworthy that – this is a democratic struggle of the people – this struggle has been peaceful without any incident of any violence (though there has been false cases foised against the agitators from time to time), despite repeated police provocation to incite violence, despite instigation and threats from the hirelings and goondas of Coca Cola management. – this struggle has been supported by the widest possible sections from across the state and other parts of the country – Gandhians, the radical left, the left, the socialists and democrats. There has been active support from numerous writers, poets, academics, scientists, engineers, health personnel and others. A large number of orgainsations have actively participated or supported the struggle.

YET THIS TIME THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE

The Coca Cola company had clearly contaminated the ground water, contaminated the land with carcinogens, drained the acquifers, sold or donated toxic wastes as fertilsers, gave more pesticides to drink in their drinks and lied at every step. They have been cornered and exposed. YET they continue to function freely !!

The manner in which the present arrests have been made, the manner in which the police have twisted their report to point out a finger to them as ‘extremist’ now after all this, indicates the unfolding collusion of the state government to put down the struggle by strong arm tactics.

It is indicative that the Congress led United Democratic Front of A.K Antony is all set to extend the collusion with Coca Cola by not only delaying any action against the company despite the piling up of official documents which indict the company on numerous counts, but also in building up a George Bush style ‘extremism’ bogey as the core of this democratic struggle. This, we fear, is designed to unleash violence and terror against the peaceful protesters – the Adivasis and others – to protect Coca Cola !!!

BACKGROUND

1999: Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Ltd starts the Plachimade Unit 22 April 2002: Struggle launched against Coca Cola for the closure of the factory.

7 April 2003: Perumatty Panchayat revoks the Coke factory’s licence.

25 July 2003: BBC Radio announces that the samples of water and wastes sold by Coke as soil conditioner (but used by local farmers as fertiliser) contained dangerous levels of heavy metals (carcinogenice) such as cadmium and lead confirmed after testing in the laboratory at University of Exeter.

6 August 2003: The Kerala State Pollution Control Board confirms that Coke’s bottling plant at Plachimada had indeed been polluting the groundwater and agricultural land in and around its plant and that the existence of carcinogenic contaminants in the waste was confirmed. The Board also instructs the company not to let the sludge out of the factory premises and to stop distribution of the sludge as manure even within the factory premises. The Public Health Department had confirmed that the ground water around the plant in not ‘potable’. The Kerala Ground Water Board had confirmed the depletion of the ground water.

What you Can Do?
1. Send protest telegrams/fax messages/letters to:
Mr.A.K.Antony, Chief Minister
Government of Kerala
Address Office : Room No:141, IIIrd Floor, North Block,
Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Tel: +91-471-2333812, 2332184, 2333682, 2518666, 2512040
Fax: +91-471-2333489.
Email: chiefminister@kerala.gov.in

In your letter,
– Protest against the arrest, and demand the unconditional release and withdrawal of false cases against activists;
– Demand immediate criminal action against Coca Cola, closure of the plant, compensation for the destruction of the water resources and restoration of the ecology.

2. Share this information with all those concerned about survival rights, human rights, environmental rights and the predatory nature of globalisation and multi-national companies.

3. Issue press releases condemning the arrests demanding the immediate closure of the Plachimada plant of Coca Cola.

4. Organise protests against Coca-Cola, a symbol of giant global predator

Yours in struggle

Veloor Swaminathan
Convenor
Coca-Cola Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samithy (Anti Coca Cola Peoples
Struggle Committee)
Plachimada
Kannimari P.O
Palakkad District
Kerala
India 678 534

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