Don't privatise water: Water meet
Participating in the World Water Forum being held at picturesque Plachimada in Kerala, environmental activist Vandana Shiva said the recent decision of the Union Cabinet to liberalise the agriculture sector and deregulate prices would end up in privatising the country's water sector as water was the principal ingredient in all cultivations.india Updated: Jan 22, 2004 18:16 IST
Environmental activist Vandana Siva on Thursday said the recent decision of the Union Cabinet to liberalise the agriculture sector and deregulate prices would end up in privatising the country's water sector as water was the principal ingredient in all cultivations.
A march led by activists from around the world was taken out to the Hindustan Coca-cola company here this morning where they shouted slogans saying no to`Coke and Pepsi' and asked for clean drinking water.
Some 300 persons including tribals took part in the dharna in front of the Coke plant, which was led by Vandana Siva, French farmers' leader Jose Bove and delegates from United States and Sweden.
"The new water policy of the government is for privatization of water. There is no substitute for water and the government cannot have rights to groundwater, forests and air as per a recent High Court order," Siva said opening the second day's session of the ongoing World Water Conference here.
"Power, like water, is a continuum. To struggle against this, it has to be globalised. We will see to it that the resistance is globaliseed. There is only one politics in this and that is to ensure that fundamental rights of the people are protected", she said.
The little ripples created at Plachimada has become an expanding circle to embrace the entire world, Siva said.
Siva said it was the duty of the state to protect the rivers and waters as a custodian, as water was a common property.
She said the Kerala High Court's recent order was a revolutionary one as it said groundwater did not belong to the state. "You can only sell what belongs to you. Water does not belong to you," she said.
" The people of India do not want a life of toxics given by multinational softdrink companies after stealing their clean drinking water.Their recent manouevoures including bribing and pampering people don't stop a theft from being a theft," she said.
Later presenting papers at the seminar held at the venue, Heidi Hautala from Finland said "we have to use all non-violent means to fight the multinationals". In her country, activists had fought against transnational corporations by buying shares in the companies and raising their concerns in meetings.
India can make use of the expertise and support of developed countries for bringing in legislations to fight exploitation of water, she said.
Inger Schorling, a member of the European Parliament from Sweden, said they were planning for a legislation to check chemical hazards. A recent study had found that every European had 300 chemicals in their bodies with the consumption of soft drinks and other food items.
She also complained that the United States was interfering and lobbying in the process of legislation in Europe because of their huge investment interests in the region.