Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The shooing out of PepsiCo from Kerala in 2002 is still fresh in the memory of many people who value the sanctity of agreements and commitments in establishing working relations between the state and the industry. Though the bottling giant, invited to establish its bottling plant in an investment starved state like Kerala which "enjoys" the unenviable reputation as an industry unfriendly state in the country, significant incentives and assurance of labor peace persuaded the MNC to enter the state. The political twist in the state forced the plant to be shuttered soon on some pretext and history is being repeated now with the state going after another MNC, Coca Cola which has its bottling plant not far way from the Pepsi plant that was closed for ever. Recent pronouncements by Venezuela on the working of MNCs working there to review their functioning is a pointer to the eventual forceful closure of these companies.

"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez singled out Coca-Cola and Pepsi among transnational companies that would have their water use reviewed by the government as part of a widening state control on the economy. Chavez accused transnational companies of privatizing water, in the latest swipe at businesses that use large quantities of water in their production processes. Last year he penalized many Venezuelan companies that he said were wasting water. Chavez said all water belonged to the people, calling it a "social property."

No doubt water is a precious natural resource which needs to be protected from wastage and over exploitation for which each nation should have a route map for conservation. If there are inequities in utilization of water same should be addressed with serious efforts to find a lasting solution. If all manufacturing facilities which require certain minimum amounts of water for efficient functioning are to be closed down what will happen to their investments and what will be the fate of thousands of employees earning a livelihood by working in these facilities? The political class which seeks to promote their ideologies should not lose track of the national interest and stymie the industrial development under any pretext is a short sighted and reprehensible.

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