Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Boycott Bottled Drinks, contains blood and sweat of people says Medha Patkar

Express News Service
Bangalore, October 24

Several students and activists gathered at St. Joseph's Arts and Science College to express solidarity and support against several water privatisation issues on Wednesday in the city.

``We just cannot waste a single minute before we act against the privatisation of water resources in the country. We're losing not only our democracy, but also our resources, '' said Medha Patkar, noted environmentalist and one of the fore-runners of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

She delved into history talking about the Nehruvian model of development that did not solve any issues related to water scarcity but worsened it. ```Today, the unroganised and under-privileged section of people have to walk several kilometre for potable water because of flaws in water sector policies. ''

Keeping in mind, the Plachimada struggle against the Coca-cola plant in Kerala, she stressed on boycotting bottled drinks, including bottled water. ``Water is being commodified. The right to life is being questioned. Every bottle of soft drinks or water contains the blood of several communities who are suffering from water shortage thanks to these plants drawing 15 lakh litres a day from their area. ''

The State is selling our ground water, particularly in South Karnataka added the environmentalist. ``There is a Coca-cola factory in almost every district of Karnataka. The vulgar profits these companies make needs to be questioned. We also have to take into consideration that with these plants, the State in turn has become a privatised body. ''

With water sector reforms coming into place in Karnataka, she questioned the role of the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that were luring the State with `juicy' stories.

She concluded the talk by asking all the people at the gathering to boycott bottled water and soft drinks. The talk was followed by a protest against the same at Nanjappa Circle near Langford Road.