The Madras High Court on Monday restrained soft drink manufacturers Pepsi and Coca-Cola from using water drawn from the Tamirabarani river for their bottling plants in Tirunelveli district.
The Madurai Bench of the court gave the interim injunction on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Prabakar, secretary of the Tirunelveli Consumer Protection Association.
The petitioner contended that drawing of water for the bottling plants of these companies deprived farmers of their livelihood, as they were were unable to take up farming activities.
The companies paid only 37.50 paise per 1,000 litres of water extracted and sold their beverages at a much higher cost, he said.
He also submitted that the Public Works Department had not permitted the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) to provide water to the bottling units of these companies. Yet SIPCOT supplied water to the soft drink makers, thus affecting farmers in five districts.
Allowing supply of Tamirabarani water to the two companies would affect lives of people in five districts, the petitioner said, and sought its sale to be stopped.