Free Press Journal

NGT seeks info on water consumption of Coke’s Varanasi plant


New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to inspect Coca Cola’s bottling plant in Varanasi and submit record of water consumption and effluent discharge of the unit. A bench headed by Justice U D Salvi also directed both the pollution monitoring bodies to check the “correctness” of water use ratio of the plant for the period 2002-2014 mentioned in their plea.

“UPPCB and CPCB shall jointly verify the correctness of water use ratio given for the years 2002 to 2014 at page 10 of the appeal from the record of water consumption and effluent discharge for the said years and further verify the present actual water consumption and actual effluent discharge at the optimum capacity and submit its findings,” the bench said.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Coca Cola told the bench that the company had moved Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) for no objection certificate. However, CGWA rebutted the argument saying no such application, in the given format, has been submitted to it. On this, the beverage company said that the format which has been prescribed is only for the new industries and not for the existing ones.

Coca Cola further said that CGWA will have to come out with the necessary format for an application seeking no objection to abstract ground water by notifying guidelines governing the entire process of granting permissions to the existing industries. The tribunal said that “it is incumbent upon the CGWA to duly notify the guidelines and prescribe the format for obtaining their no objection for continuation of extraction of ground water in the existing units”.

It was hearing the plea of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd against an order issued by UPPCB cancelling the NoC and the Consent to Operate (CTO) due to lack of required permission from CGWA and directed it to shut down its Varanasi unit.

A show cause notice was issued to Coca-Cola by UPPCB on April 23, 2014 on the ground that compliance in terms of CTO was not submitted.