Cola companies should stop using water meant for the common man.
That’s the demand made by Swabhiman, a non-governmental organisation headed by Revenue Minister Narayan Rane’s son, Nitesh.
The outfit has trained its guns on Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited for using a huge quantity of water from Vaitarna dam for its soft drink bottling plant in Kudus village of Thane district.
The civic body enforces a daily water cut of 15 per cent to domestic users. Vaitarna is one of the dams supplying water to Mumbai.
Rane has told the soft drink firm to stop using water from Vaitarna dam due to acute water shortage in Mumbai.
Nitesh said his organisation was “prepared to fight and take whatever action was required to ensure citizens get their share of drinking water”.
“It is shocking that the company uses 10 lakh litres a day for its plant,” said Nitesh. “We have written to the company to stop using the water originally meant for drinking.”
While government officials did not react, a senior officer in the Water Resources Department said on anonymity that the company had an official arrangement with the government, under its industry and water policies.
“We agree that providing drinking water is our priority. But the state’s water policy says industry must also get water from state dams. In the water policy, industry is the second priority after drinking.”
Nitesh said he had alerted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) about this matter.
Hindustan Coca Cola officials could not be reached for comment. Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikar said the BMC had not received any letter from Nitesh. “There’s 30 per cent water cut for all commercial use. At this stage, I won’t be able to say if the company was pumping more water.”