Taking a serious note of the alleged exploitation of groundwater by Pepsi, a committee of the Kerala Assembly today recommended imposition of curbs on extraction of water by the multinational cola giant’s plant at Pudussery in Palakkad district.The report, tabled in the Assembly, however, did not ask for the closure of the plant, which provides employment to 3,500 people. The plant, situated over 53 acres, uses nearly 48.5 per cent of the ground water, according to the report.Panel Chairman and state Water Resources Minister N K Premachandran said the key suggestion was to impose restrictions on water extraction by Pepsi at 234,000 litres per day from the current average of 700,000 litres a day.
On the issue whether the plant was causing water pollution, the report said the possibility could not be ruled out, but required detailed study.The committee said industrial units using groundwater as the main raw material should be generally discouraged. The report comes at a time when a high-level panel is finalising its report on “socio-economic” damage allegedly caused by the Coca Cola plant at Plachimada, also in Palakkad district, which has been declared a drought-hit area. Premachandran said the high-level committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar, is expected to submit the report soon.