AID WATCH ACTION ALERT: USAID Announces Global Watershed Partnership Agreement With Coca Cola
In a direct contrast to the State Government of the Southern Indian state of Kerala, which is challenging Coca-Cola's right to use groundwater in the Supreme Court of India, USAID in its press release dated September 14, 2005, announced the Global Watershed Partnership Agreement with Coca-Cola "to support a wide variety of water-related programs in developing countries around the world."
"Water projects help improve access to safe and adequate water supply and sanitation, improve irrigation technology, enhance natural environments, and develop better institutional capacity for water resources management," stated USAID Administrator Andrew S. Natsios. "When we work together with our partners in the private sector, this important work can benefit even more people in developing nations."
Mr. Natsios is obviously clueless or has chosen to remain so about the reality of Coca Cola operations in the developing nations. It is time to educate USAID!
The Kerala State Government has stated "poor villages are deprived of drinking water due to overuse of ground water by Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada to produce bottled drinks for sale to people who have purchasing capacity in different cities of the country." The state government has also argued that the local panchayat (village council) was within its rights to cancel the license of the Coca-Cola plant because it was protecting the interest of the community. The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada, one of its largest in India, has remained shut down since March 2004 because the village council refused to renew Coca-Cola's license, citing the company for creating severe water shortages and pollution in the area.
The state appeal comes less than a month after a decision by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board which ordered the Coca-Cola bottling plant to "stop production of all kinds of products with immediate effect" on August 19, 2005 because of high levels of cadmium around the bottling plant. The bottling plant was conducting "trial runs," in complete violation of Indian laws.
However, the PR campaign launched with $3.5 million of combined resources in the first year (including U.S. tax payers dollars) reads like this in the USAID press release: "At the Coca-Cola Company we are transforming the way that we think about water," said Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola's Vice President for Water and Environment. "It is in the long-term interests for our business to be good stewards of our most critical ingredient, water. Along with the communities where we operate, we have a shared interest in protecting water resources and enabling greater access to water and sanitation... Today's agreement with USAID is another important step in this process."
In a press release put out by India Resource Center , an international campaigning organization, R. Ajayan, convener of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee, states, "The state of Kerala has heard the people of Kerala. The Coca-Cola company should get the message now - they should pack up and leave."
It is time to get the message of the people of Kerala to USAID
Contact the Office of the Inspector General whose purpose is to receive complaints of Fraud, Waste or Abuse in USAID programs and operations.
Call Bruce Crandlemire , Acting Inspector General today at 202-712-1150
You have the option of submitting your complaint(s) via Internet electronic mail at [email protected]
To learn about the international campaign against Coca Cola visit India Resource Center and Polaris Institute.
AID WATCH: Is unraveling the operations of the U.S. aid through reports, one page-press alerts, a comprehensive military aid and foreign aid databases, with the aim to change the current model of foreign aid. We believe increased awareness about the reality of international aid will lead to truly beneficial programs for local communities.
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