ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Quenching Thirst by Stealing Livelihood

Kaladera Bottling Plant of Coca-Cola

The shutting down of the Coca-Cola bottling plant at Kaladera, Rajasthan only after it has exacerbated the miseries of this water-scarce village shows how improper institutional practices can put the welfare of the people living in the area at stake. The Kaladera case highlights the importance of the role of the state and its institutions to safeguard the interests of its people, particularly the weak and marginalised.

We thank an anonymous referee of this journal for insightful comments on the earlier version of this article.

Kaladera, a small village 40 kilo-metres from Jaipur, was recently talked about in print and electronic media not for its mud resistant block prints and natural dying handicrafts, but for the shutting down of the Coca-Cola bottling plant which has supposedly drained the area of its water reserves.

More than a decade of struggle and people’s movement saw an end to the corporate exploitation of the scarce water resource at Kaladera. The closure of this plant along with two more—in Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya—raises serious questions on policy planners, institutional bodies granting licences and the role of the pollution control board. The maxim of paradox was realised in 2000 when a water extracting bottling unit was allowed to set up its plant in one of the most water scarce regions of the country, Rajasthan. The state government adopted an anti-welfare policy by providing tax incentives to a beverage producing unit in Govindgarh block which was declared overexploited1 in 1998 by the Central Ground Water Board putting at stake the welfare of the marginalised section of Kaladera.

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