Will Coca Cola be Uttarakhand CM’s undoing ?

Dehradun : The Congressmen here in Uttarakhand distributed sweets at the victory of the party at the hustings in Karnataka, particularly because of the rout of the BJP and its poster boy, Narendra Modi’s image taking a beating.

But apparently they have been very myopic and not looked into their own cupboard. After coming into power in the state, albeit with outside support from the BSP and UKD, the Congress took a beating in the by-election from the Tehri parliamentary constituency, a seat that was held by chief minister Vijay Bahuguna before being made head of this small mountain state.

And more recently, in fact even less than a week back in the elections to the corporations and other local bodies, the Congress could not get its candidate to win even in won of the six municipal corporations in the state. Scapegoats are still being searched for, and the win in distant Karnataka being looked at for solace.

coke1 And to make matters worse chief minister, Vijay Bahuguna has locked horns with the environmentalists and local residents of the Charba area of Vikasnagar over the setting up of a Coca Cola plant in the region. While Bahuguna issued a statement that the plant will come up at the specified plant, the villagers have pledged not to give land for it.

The bone of contention is water. While Bahuguna insists that there is no water shortage in the region, locals claim that once the plant comes up it will overuse the underground water as it had done at various other places where it had put up plants. This would only aggravate problems for them in the times to come, they maintained.

The locals have not only decided not to give or sell any land to the multi-national giant, but also to start an agitation against it by organizing dharnas and agitations. They have even made it clear that they will not hesitate upon knocking the doors of the judiciary to prevent the entry of the cold drink manufacturer in their area.

In fact the local went on to extent of saying that their agitation would pave the way for the exit of the Bahuguna government from the state and the chief minister, who is already under threat of being removed from the post, following the string of poor performances and dismal governance, may meet his Waterloo on the issue.

Meanwhile, not being deterred by the threat of the locals and environmentalists, on instructions of the chief minister, the revenue department has transferred the land where the plant is proposed to come up to the industries department. A keen tussle is now on the cards.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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