The Coca-Cola India Foundation is mulling watershed projects in drought-hit Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, a senior official said, adding this had nothing to do with the case filed against the company in the southern state for drawing excess water or the Cola boycott called by the traders’ association. “We are looking at taking up water-related projects in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Currently, we have one watershed project in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district,” Himanshu Thapliyal, Programme Manager, Coca-Cola India Foundation, told IANS on a recent visit to Madhya Pradesh.
“We don’t work near our plants. The projects we undertake do not have anything to do with the company that makes and sells beverages,” Thapliyal said of the case filed by the state government. Partnering with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Haritika, the Foundation has implemented an integrated program in Patna village of Chhatarpur in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.
The village is around 80km from Khajuraho, famous for its temples with erotic sculptures. “It was a water-critical village area,” Thapliyal said.
The integrated project included construction of a check dam, solar-powered bore wells, digging of ponds and others. “Following the construction of check dam, ponds and bore wells, farming in over 200 acres has begun on a serious note. Orchards for guava, mango and gooseberry, and vegetable farms have been developed in Patna village,” Avani Mohan Singh, Chief Functionary at Haritika, told a team of visiting journalists from Chennai.
Earlier, farming was done for one season and for the remaining time, the villagers went out as laborers.