On Thursday, Madras High Court allowed the soft drinks giants like Pepsi and Coca-Cola to draw water from Thamirabarani river for their bottling plants.
Justice A Selvam and Justice P Kalaiarasan had dismissed the ban, which was earlier imposed by the court from the firms for drawing water from the river.
The High Court had given interim injection last November. The soft drinks companies sought a direction on lifting the ban by saying that they were using only the surplus water. PIL litigants submitted that the river flowing through Tirunelveli and Tuticorin were provided with drinking water projects and irrigation in these two districts.
Drawing water for the bottling plants of these companies deprived farmers of their livelihood. Because of this, the farmers are unable to take up their farming activities. Both the companies paid only 37.50 paise per 1000 liters of water extracted. And they sold their beverages at a much higher cost, Mr. Prabhakar, Secretary of Tirunelveli Consumer Protection Association, said.
Earlier, PWD submitted that there was sufficient water in the river and only surplus water were provided to the companies. Traders Federation in Tamil Nadu gave the order to ban sales of Coca-Cola and Pepsi soft drinks, which came into consideration a day before! It came into the effect when the President AM Vikrama Raja declared drinks as toxic for consumption.