The plan of setting up a Coca-Cola bottling plant was dropped by the State Government of Uttarakhand after the protests of the Charba villagers of Dehradun district. The one-year long struggle of the villagers not only saved more than 50,000 trees from being chopped, but it also saved 2 lakh liter water of Yamuna river, which was slated to be used by the plant for commercial purpose.
The protest gained momentum when the villagers united, against the setting up of Coca-Cola bottling plant:
On April 17, 2013, the news of Uttarakhand government compromising with Coca-Cola Company, for setting up the bottling plant at Charba village of Dehradun district spread like hay fire. When this news reached the ears of the villagers they were perplexed by the decision of the state government.
It was the result of the praiseworthy efforts of the villagers, activists and various environmentalists such as Praveen Kumar Bhatt, the member of ‘Hamari Nadi Bachao’, Indra Singh Negi, Durga Prasad Kanswal, Chandramohan Bhatt and Prem Pancholi who made the movement successful. It was the fruitful outcome of the one-year long battle, that about 50,000 trees were saved from being chopped. Later on, the government praised the villagers for their noteworthy efforts towards environment conservation. While, the central and state government felicitated the villagers for their inspiring work.
The protest of Charba villagers against Coca-Cola Company became an alliance:
The inhabitants of Charba village came together and gave a strong message to the Coca-Cola Company, that they are the sole owners of the forests, land, and the water resources and they will not let anybody interfere with the bio-diversity. The battle against the simple villagers and the corporate world was supported by many activists, who wholeheartedly lend their efforts to make the mission successful. This movement gained fuel and the struggles of the villagers of Charba brought colours when, Uttarakhand High Court ruled, that the ownership of the landmarked by the state for setting up the Coca-Cola bottling plant will be given back to the Gram Sabha. Therefore, the protest of the simple villagers against the undesirable exploitation of the natural resources became an inspiration for others.
‘Aur Coca-Cola Har Gaya’ a book written by Praveen Kumar Bhatt on this movement:
The movement became renowned when writer and activist Praveen Kumar Bhatt wrote a book called ‘Aur Coca-Cola Haar Gaya’. This book gives a detailed information about the protest against the Coca-Cola bottling plant held at Charba village of Dehradun district. The writer not only participated in the protest but he worked at odd hours for getting every single detail about the movement. Many local people accused him saying, that he was an agent of the state government but when his book was published everybody was amazed by his selfless work. Many activists and environmentalists have praised this book.
‘Save Charba Movement’ at a glance:
If a man desires to bring a revolutionary change then he must focus on his actions rather than, the tone of his voice. The people of Charba village of Dehradun district have proved that actions speak louder than words. The villagers of Charba have set an example of social responsibility and morality, by protesting against the setting up of a Coca-Cola bottling plant at the lush green surroundings of the village.
The villagers in solidarity raised their voice against the renowned Coca-Cola company who wanted to set up a bottling plant on the Gram Sabha land, which would not only degrade the environment but it would disperse cancer causing germs, which are released into the environment during the manufacturing process. The farmers were very much aware of the detrimental effects the plant would have on the quality of soil and the health of people. Therefore, they agitated against the company’s officials for not setting up the bottling plant. As they knew it would release harmful minerals such as lead which causes nervous breakdown and is harmful to the children. Also, cadmium taken up by the plant is hazardous to health, as it causes severe kidney and lung problems which can further lead to cancer.
Finally, their efforts were recognized and the state government had to take back the order of setting up the Coca-Cola bottling plant on the Gram Sabha land.