Scores of villagers in Chharba today held a rally against the proposed Rs 600-crore Coca-Cola bottling plant, which the government claims will bring prosperity in the region.
The villagers shouted slogans against the government for setting up the plant and said they would not allow the it to come up. The rally, which began from Chharba, proceeded to the nearby Dak Pathar and later dispersed after traversing 20 km.
However, the villagers took no decision on a future strategy, said Chharba Pradhan (Chief) Rumi Ram Jaswal.
The panchayat had early this month passed unanimously a resolution declaring they would not allow set-up of the plant on environmental grounds. Many environmentalists had expressed concerns, saying the plant would pollute the local ground water.
Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverage, the bottling arm of Coca-Cola, on April 17 signed a memorandum of understanding with the State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation of Uttarakhand, to set up the plant on 60 acres.
On the other hand, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had said that the proposed Coca Cola plant in Chharba village, near here, would be given final approval by a committee of environmental experts. The plant will be set up only after it is confirmed that it will not have an adverse impact on the local environment,” the CM said.
Suresh Bhai of “Nadi Bachao Andolan” also expressed concern over the plant. “The people in Uttarakhand are facing acute shortage of water. There is a hue and cry everywhere. In this context, providing drinking water should be the first priority (of the government). This should be done by the government in partnership with village panchayats. Instead of this, the government is providing water and forests to Coke without any good reason,” said Suresh Bhai.