Press Release – On Earth Day Doon valley declareS Chipko Movement -Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola ‘Quit India’ #CSR


DEhradun, April 23, 2013E

Forty hectares (about 85 acres) of land with more than 60,000 trees of different species such as Shisham, Kher, Bakkaiyan, and Sagwan, is in danger.  On the  17th of April 2013 the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Vijay Bahuguna, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, allowing them to establish a 600 crore bottling plant on this land, of which Coca-cola has already handed over a cheque of 1.6* crore.  In response the villagers of Charba and their pradhaan (village head) congregated at this forest to declare a chipko movement in protection of this green belt on the 21st of April 2013. The Navdanya team was present at this meeting to extend our support and distributed brochures which highlight the hazards of Coca-cola and such bottling units to the local environment and, consequently, the people.

On Mother Earth Day 2013 (April 22nd) in response to the village level protests against the Coca-cola bottling unit that is to be set up in Charba village, Vikasnagar, Uttarakhand, with agreement from the state government, the Navdanya team focused its energies towards this area with the intention to continue the resistance and remember why such a plant will not only effect Charba but the surrounding areas as well.  With the support of Mr. Shiv Singh Tomar, the principle of the Government Primary School in Usmanpur, Navdanya involved the youth and young minds from the area by planting trees at this government school.  The Navdanya team, including the director Dr. Vinod Bhatt, along with five students from Shivalik College of Engineering’s Ecoclub began by talking about Mother Earth Day (Prithvi Ma Divas), the meaning and importance of such an event and how the children can be involved. Then the children, school faculty, Shivalik college students and Navdanya team collectively planted five trees, which will from now on be cared for by the students.

The Navdanya team, accompanied by Mr. Tomar, proceeded to the Charba gram panchayat office in Charba village.  Here we planted an Ashoka tree in front of the office along with village members and elders as a symbol of our collective dedication and drive to continue working for Mother Earth.  To gather village voices together in a petition, the Navdanya team formulated a petition arguing against the establishing of a Coca-cola bottling unit in Charba village.  Mr. Pramod Kimothi presented this to the villagers in attendance, who signed their agreement and accepted the petition in order to collect further support by gathering signatures from other village members.

The day concluded with hope and resolve to take the issue of the Coca-cola bottling plant further.  In May 2013 Navdanya and the Charba village members will conduct an aazadi bachao aandolan (a movement to defend freedom) where a demonstration will take place at the Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm, Ramgarh, Dehradun.

Doon Valley Declaration

Water is the basis of life; it is the gift of nature; it belongs to all living beings on earth.  Water is not private property, it is a common resource for the sustenance of all.  Water is a fundamental human right.  It has to be conserved, protected, and managed. It is our fundamental obligation to prevent water scarcity and pollution to preserve it for generations.  Water is not a commodity. We should resist all criminal attempts to marketize, privatize, and corporatize water. Only through these means we can ensure the fundamental and inalienable right to water for people all over the world. The Water Policy should be formulated on the basis of this outlook.  The right to conserve, use, and manage water is fully vested with the local community.  This is the very basis of water democracy.  Any attempt to reduce or deny this right is a crime. The production and marketing of the poisonous products of the Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola corporations lead to total destruction and pollution and also endanger the very existence of local communities.  The resistance that has come up in Plachimada, Puducherry, and in various parts of the world is the symbol of our valiant struggle against the devilish corporate gangs who pirate our water.  We who are in the battlefields are in full solidarity and are putting up a resistance against the tortures of the commercial forces. We exhort people all over the world to join us as we boycott the products of Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola ‘Quit India’

From the experiences of Plachimada in Kerala, Kaladere in Rajasthan and Mehandi Ganj in Uttar Pradesh, where similar bottling units have been set up in the past, we have learned and are aware of the situation.  The water table in Plachimada dropped from 40 feet to 125 feet, well and hand pumps went dry. While in Mehandi Ganj the water levels have dropped by 40 feet and the surrounding fields have been polluted.  To prevent such situations from taking place in our Doon Valley we must take steps now by uniting to defend our water sovereignty, land sovereignty.  The land allotted to the Coca-Cola plant in Charba was given to Doon University which has now been built elsewhere.  This land has now been given to Coca-Cola without our consent by the government.  This land should now be returned to the village. We do not agree to this land being handed over to Coca-Cola, we will not allow for this land grab and water theft to take place.  This is our declaration on Mother Earth Day 2013 and we vow to take up the methods of Sri Sundarlal Bahuguna by adopting our own ‘chipko movement’ to save our trees, our land and our water.

Village Panchayat Charba, Vikasnagar, Doon Valley

 

Fizzy tizzy: Bolivia walks back talk of Coca-Cola ban #Coke


Published: 03 August, 2012, 15:27
Coca-Cola sign in downtown La Paz, Bolivia (Reuters / Claudia Daut)

Coca-Cola sign in downtown La Paz, Bolivia (Reuters / Claudia Daut)

TAGS: HealthSouth AmericaPoliticsDrugs,AgricultureEconomy

 

Bolivian officials played down a recent pledge to ban Coca-Cola, saying the words were taken out of context. Their aim was to encourage locals to switch to a homemade peach soft drink instead of the famous American soda.

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said that December 21, 2012 – the day the Mayan lunar calendar enters a new cycle – “has to be the end of Coca-Cola, the end of selfishness, of division.”

“The planets will line up after 26,000 years. It is the end of capitalism and the beginning of communitarianism,” he said. International media ran his words, claiming the country planned to expel one of the world largest soft drink manufacturers.

But Choquehuanca actually meant that December 21 “ought to be the end of Coca Cola, and the beginning of Mocochinci,” a local drink made from dried peaches, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Consuelo Ponce.

US weekly magazine Forbes suggested that the alleged ban on Coca-Cola comes at time when Bolivia is pledging to legalize the consumption of coca leaves, alleged to be one of the main ingredients in the soft drink’s secret formula.

The sale of the native coca leaf is big business in Bolivia, accounting for 2% of the country’s GDP (approximately $270 million annually), and representing 14% of all agricultural sales, Forbes reported.

The UN declared the leaves illegal under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, along with cocaine, opium and morphine. Since 2009, Bolivia has consistently called for change to the ruling. The consumption of coca leaves is a centuries-old tradition in South America, strongly rooted in the beliefs of various indigenous groups.

The Bolivian legislature recently approved a Bill of Complaint filed by President Evo Morales’ administration to withdraw Bolivia from the convention over its prohibitions against the personal use, consumption, possession and cultivation of the coca leaf.

In support of the bill, the Bolivian government cited Article 384 of the 2008 Bolivian Constitution, which obligates preserving the use of the coca leaf as part of Bolivia’s ancestral heritage, and rejects the designation of coca in its natural state as a narcotic.

President Morales defended the traditional practice of chewing coca leaves at a UN meeting on narcotics in March, and urged the body to reconsider its 1961 decision.

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