Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, Indian arm of famous soft drink major Coca-Cola has one of its bottling plants located at the village called Mehdiganj in Uttar Pradesh, India. The village is located about 25 kms from famous and holy city Varanasi. This bottling plant started its operation since 1999.
The local villagers and the people from the surrounding areas have been fighting against the plant since its inception. People alleged that the bottling plant uses unjust practices of ground water extraction . Due to severe extraction of ground water, the water level in the area has gone down. The local community in and around Mehdiganj rely heavily on the same groundwater to meet all their water needs, including drinking, cooking, cleaning, providing water for livestock, as well as agriculture  The protestors alleged that beside the ground water extraction, the chemical waste discharged by the plant into the nearby land destroy crops and soil. It is a matter of serious concern for the local villagers. Beside the above two issues, the protestors alleged that the plant has also occupied the local panchayat (community) land without paying any tax. Although there are enough evidences of such concerns the company denied all above allegations .
Looking at the indifference from both the company and the government the people of Mehdiganj started an indefinite Dharna (sit in protest) infront of the coke plant on 23rd March 2006 . In 2006, the protest including hunger strike lasted for over three months.
The activist demanded the permanent closure of the unit. The bottling plant has been ordered to stop operation in June 2014 by the UP Pollution Control Board. The company appealed against the closure order to the National Green Tribunal . The NGT has given a stay on the order of the board and ordered the company to limit its production up to 600 bottles per minute. The company will not be able to increase production capacity till it gets a clearance from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) .(See less)