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25 Aug 2014

India: Activists claim Coca Cola forced to abandon expansion plans due to their efforts, company cited inordinate delay in approvals

Established in 1999, the Mehandiganj plant is a single-line facility and the only glass bottles unit of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, the bottling arm of Coca-Cola. The company had plans to expand the bottling plant, however, activists & villagers protested against it saying it would further worsen the water conditions in the area. Over-exploitation and pollution of groundwater and the soil were the key reasons cited by the activists. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) had shut down the plant on June 6, 2014 because it found the company to be violating a number of conditions of its license, including a lack of NOC from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). Coca-Cola was able to obtain a stay order from the NGT that allowed it to temporarily re-open its existing plant on June 20, 2014.The $25 million plant - which was a significant expansion to its existing plant in Mehdiganj could not operate commercially as it did not have the required permits to operate. Coca Cola has decided not to pursue the expansion of its bottling on grounds of inordinate delay in receiving environmental clearances, however, activists campaigning against the expansion said the Coca Cola was ``forced to abandon’.