US univ makes Coke bend | india | Hindustan Times
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US univ makes Coke bend

COCA-COLA HAS agreed to a third-party probe into the controversial water-management practices at its Indian plants. The immediate gain for the soft-drinks giant: it has won back its $1.4 million annual contract with the University of Michigan.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 01:16 IST

COCA-COLA HAS agreed to a third-party probe into the controversial water-management practices at its Indian plants. The immediate gain for the soft-drinks giant: it has won back its $1.4 million annual contract with the University of Michigan.

But student activists who campaigned for the termination of the arrangement are unhappy at the university's "premature" action.

They argue that the probe will not be independent, alleging that the Indian entity which Coke has proposed to design the investigation is a beneficiary of its corporate sponsorship. Notwithstanding the reputation of the entity -- The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) -- student groups, notably the India Resource Centre, have voiced serious reservations over the move.

They have been battling Coke for "creating severe water shortages around bottling plants in India and selling drinks with extremely high levels of pesticides".

The University of Michigan, however, is satisfied with Coke agreeing to a third-party probe into allegations over its operations in India and Colombia, where it faces severe criticism over its labour practices.