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CRITERIA FOR SETTING STANDARDS FOR SOFT DRINKS, FRUIT JUICE
AND OTHER BEVERAGES
SOFT DRINKS (CARBONATED WATER/SWEETENED AERATED WATER)
2.1 According to the PFA Act 1945, “A01.01—CARBONATED WATER means potable water
impregnated with carbon dioxide under pressure and may contain any of the following singlyor in combination. Sugar, liquid glucose, dextrose monohydrate, invert sugar, fructose, Sorbitol,honey, fruit and vegetables extractives and permitted flavouring, colouring matter, preservatives,emulsifying and stabilising agents, acids, (citric acid, fumaric acid, tartaric acid, phosphoricacid, lactic acid, ascorbic acid and malic acid), edible gums such as (guar, karaya, arabic,carobean, furcellaran, tragacanth, gum ghatti, edible gelatin, albumin, licorice and its derivatives)salts of sodium, calcium and magnesium, vitamins, caffeine.” Carbonated water constitutes adefined and homogenous range, designated by a generic denomination and utilizing somecommon list of additives. Carbonated water includes the beverages which comply with thisdefinition, which utilize these additives and which do not claim to be part of adjacent categoriessuch as fruit juices and nectars, dairy drinks, mineral waters, etc.
2.2 As per a note furnished to the Committee, globally, carbonated soft drinks are the third
most consumed beverages. Per-capita
annual consumption of carbonated soft drinks is nearlyfour times the per capita
consumption of fruit beverages. Soft drink consumption is growing byaround 5% a year, according to Global Soft Drinks 2002 (Zenith International, 2002). Total volumereached 412,000 million litres in 2001, giving a global per-capita
consumption of around67.5 litres per year.
2.3 North America is the largest soft drinks market with 27 per cent of total world soft drink
sales and a consumption of 48 gallons per person per year (192 litres/person/year). The Europeanmarket accounts for 21 per cent, with a per capita
consumption of 12.7 gallons per year(50.8 litres/person/year). The fastest growth in soft drink consumption is in Asia and South America.
Carbonated drinks are the biggest soft drinks sector with 45% of global volume. The five fastestgrowing soft drink markets between 1996 and 2001 were from Asia, East Europe and the MiddleEast. The five fastest developing markets during 2001 and 2006 are all expected to come fromAsia. Amongst them Pakistan is predicted to have the highest percentage growth rate whileIndia is expected to make sizeable volume gains, as affluence spreads to more of its vastpopulation. Indonesia, China and Vietnam complete the top five for future growth.
2.4 According to Government estimates soft drinks marketed in India were 6540 million bottles
in March 2001. The market growth rate, which was around 2-3% in 80s, increased to 5-6% in theearly 90s and is presently 7-8% per annum.
2.5 Per capita
consumption in India is among the lowest in the world at 6 bottles per annum
compared to 80 bottles in Thailand and 800 bottles in USA. Delhi market has highest per capita
consumption in the country with 50 bottles per annum.
2.6 Non-alcoholic soft drinks beverage market can be divided into fruit drinks and carbonated
water. Soft drinks available in glass bottles, aluminium cans or, PET bottles. Carbonated watercan also be divided into cola products and non-cola products. Cola Products like Pepsi, CocaCola, Thums Up, and Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi etc. Non-Cola products based on the types offlavours available can be divided into Orange, Cloudy Lime, Clear Lime and Mango.
Soft Drinks Ingredients
2.7 As per a note furnished to the Committee, the major ingredients of soft drinks include the
2.8 The major ingredient of soft drinks is water and it accounts for 86%-92% of the soft drink
2.9 Aromatic substances are added to soft drinks to give a pleasant taste and better stability
to the taste. These could be natural aromatic substances like caffeine obtainable from a varietyof leaves, seeds and fruits. Identical aromatic substance can be obtained more simply andcheaply, in purer forms from raw materials other than plant raw materials and have characteristicswhich correspond exactly with their natural equivalents.
2.10 There are many different types of sweeteners like sugar (sucrose). It is highly nutritious
and is the invaluable carrier of the fruit aromas. It is made from sugar-beet or sugar cane orsweeteners found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Two simple types of sugars found infruits are fructose (fruit-sugar) and glucose (grape-sugar). There are also low-calorie artificialsweeteners like saccharin and aspartame (nutra-sweet). Saccharin, is a non-nutritious sweetenerwhich is extremely sweet, stable, gives no energy (no calories). Aspartame is a nutrient-sweetenerbuilt up of two amino-acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine (200 times sweeter than sucrose).
2.11 Carbon dioxide is another important ingredient added to the soft-drinks in liquid form.
It makes the drink refreshing through its stimulation of the mouth’s mucous membranes addinga sensation that the soft drink is colder than it actually is. The carbon dioxide also brings outthe aroma since the carbon dioxide bubbles ‘drag with them’ the aromatic components. It alsochecks microbiological growth.
2.12 The most common acids used in soft drinks are citric acid, phosphoric acid and malic
acid. The function of acids in the drink is said to balance the sweetness.
2.13 Colour is added to soft drinks to make them presentable and attractive to consumers.
Brown drinks are coloured with caramel (when sugar is heated, its colour changes to brown, itbecomes less sweet and acquires a burnt taste) or beta-carotin, which is also the dominantcolouring agent in carrots and oranges.
2.14 Preservatives like sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are added to increase the
life of the product. Sulphur dioxide can also be used as a preservative.
2.15 Antioxidants are substances, which prevent reactions that destroy aromatic substances
in soft drinks. The most common antioxidant used is ascorbic acid, i.e.
2.16 Emulsifying agents, stabilizing agents and thickening agents are also added so that the
contents of the drinks remain evenly distributed. Examples of stabilizing agents and thickeningagents are pectin, which is obtained from citrus fruits or apples, and alginates and carragenan,which is obtained from algae.
2.17 The production of soft drinks begins by making a syrup of sugar and water and an
aromatic concentrate mixture (soft drink concentrate) made of raw fruit-juice, other aromaticagents as well as an acid. Soft drinks are acidified either by the addition of fruit juice or by theinclusion of an acid such as that found naturally in fruits (malic or citric acid) or phosphoric acidwhich is generally used in cola drinks. The components are then mixed into a soft drinkconcentrated syrup.
2.18 The water used is treated to remove the oxygen to avoid reactions which destroy the
aromatic substances (oxidation). In case of carbonated drinks, the water is ‘carbonated’ withcarbon dioxide under high pressure. All the air is removed to prevent froth formation when thepackage is opened. The syrup and the carbonated water are mixed in the correct proportions.
The drink is then bottled, canned or put into other packaging for retail sale.
LICENCE TO SOFT DRINK INDUSTRIES UNDER FPO 1955
2.19 Soft drink industries are granted licence under the Fruit Products Order, 1955, which is
a statutory Order issued under the Essential Commodities Act,1955 and is administered by theMinistry of Food Processing Industries. Under this Order, a licence is granted to the manufacturersof fruit products covered under FPO, 1955. This licence is given after inspection of the premisesof manufacturer as to the compliance of necessary dimensions and hygienic conditions of theplace of manufacture. The other aspect looked into before grant of FPO licence is as towhether the water being used for the manufacture of product is potable or not. Towards thisend, sample of water is taken and chemical and microbiological tests are conducted.
2.20 A big lacuna found by the Committee was that under FPO 1955, the definition/standards
for potable water has not been notified. The Ministry of Food Processing Industry informed theCommittee that by practice, potable water is expected to conform to the World HealthOrganisation/BIS drinking water norms, which has been followed uniformly under the FPO. FPOonly stipulates that the level of pesticides should be below detectable limit and have not beenquantified.
2.21 From the information furnished to the Committee it is noted that Coca Cola CSD
manufacturing locations in India are 52 out of which Company Owned Bottling Plants are27 and Franchisee Owned Bottling Plants are 25. PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd. manufacturinglocations in India are 38 out of which Company Owned Plants are 17 and Franchisee ownedplants are 21. As per the Ministry of Food Processing Industries note the total turnover of thesetwo products of two companies is estimated to be around Rs. 4000 crore per year. The productionby other FPO Licensees (home scale and cottage scale approx. 900 number) of fruit juices,Sweetened Areated Water (SAW) and ready to serve beverages is estimated to be aroundRs.300 crore and by others (about 400 number) is approximately Rs. 2000 crore.
PRESENT REGULATIONS FOR SOFT DRINKS UNDER PFA ACT
2.22 Standards for Soft drinks have been prescribed under PFA ACT, 1954 and Rules, 1955
under item A.01.01 of Appendix B, under the category of Carbonated Water. This includes plaincarbonated water and sweetened carbonated water.
2.23 From the two mandatory regulations it is noted that under FPO, 1955 standards for
Sweetened Aerated Water/carbonated water (soft drinks) does not include water quality standardsas part of soft drink quality standards. It just mentions that water should be potable withoutgiving any direction about the meaning of potable water.
2.24 PFA, 1954 also mentions that water in the soft drinks has to be potable without giving
any quality standards for the potable water. However, it specifies microbiological contaminantstandards for the final soft drinks.
2.25 Both FPO and PFA do not specify standards for inorganic and organic chemicals and
pesticides for soft drinks. Both under FPO and PFA, standards have been set for carbonateddrinks, and some of the soft drinks intended for consumption after dilution.
BIS STANDARDS FOR SOFT DRINKS
2.26 While standards for carbonated beverages under the FPO, 1955 and PFA 1954 are
mandatory regulations for the soft drinks, there is also a voluntary Standard of Bureau of IndianStandards for soft drinks (IS 2346 : 1992).
2.27 The voluntary BIS standard for carbonated beverages (soft drinks) (IS 2346:1992) however
specifies the quality of water to be used in the manufacturing of soft drinks and its standardsfor microbiological parameters and heavy metals are for the final product.
2.28 According to BIS specification, the water used in the manufacture of soft drinks should
meet the water quality standards for processed food industry IS 4251:1967. The water qualitystandards for processed food industry IS 4251 : 1967, has specified standards for bacteriological,physical and chemical tolerances, but does not mention pesticides.
2.29 From a note furnished by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Committee noted that Drinks
and Carbonated Beverage Sectional Committee, FAD 14 which is the BIS technical committeefor developing standards in the field of all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and other beveragesincluding test methods for the same, conducted meetings for the review and revision of presentvoluntary standards of BIS. FAD 14 decided to revise IS2346:1992 Carbonated Beverages andmade it more broad based as observed in other countries. The Committee deliberated in detailon the title so as to cover soft drinks and other ready to serve beverages which are waterbased and decided to use the title Ready to-serve non-alcoholic beverages’ so as to cover allsweetened as well as unsweetened, carbonated as well as non-carbonated, flavoured andother type of water based ready-to-serve beverages.
2.30 The scope of the revised standards, however, do not include medical beverages, pure
fruit vegetable juices or those containing or derived from dairy products. The technicalrecommendations on the standards for ready-to-serve non-alcoholic beverages which emergedout of the deliberations of FAD 14 were stated to be as under:—
“(a) There is a need to regulate this product through a national standard as it is a value
added processed food and consumed by all sections of the population including thevulnerable section like children and needed vigilant control to safeguard public healthspecially in a tropical country like India.
(b) The standard should include as far as possible a wide range of ingredients that could
be used in the formulation of this product.
(c) The raw material ingredients should specifically state the quality and safety requirements
so as to ensure a safe end-product. Limits for physical, chemical and microbiologicalparameters should be well defined as they are critical to safety. The consumerOrganizations, NGOs, ICMR, CSIR, etc. strongly recommended that the end-productstandard should include pesticide residue limits also in each case as pesticide residuecontamination should not be allowed in the end-product. On the other hand CII,FICCI, Coca-cola and Pepsi representatives strongly recommended that consumersafety is ensured by following the international practice of fixing MRLs on rawagricultural commodities and water and no pesticide residue limits are recommendedon the finished ready to-serve non-alcoholic beverages. They were supported by theagricultural scientists.
(d) The quality of water is vital, as it is the base of this product and, therefore, its specified
quality and safety standards should be strictly adhered to.
(e) Hygienic requirements should be very specific as often this industry uses reusable
containers and in order to safeguard public health, strict observance of hygienicpractices were necessary, as also observed in some other country regulations/standards.
(f) Packaging requirements in keeping with the latest packing materials should be included
2.31 BIS technical Committee FAD, 14 proposed that the technical recommendations on
ready to serve non-alcoholic beverages will be suitably modified into the draft Indian Standardand proposed as a National Standard in due course.
2.32 From CSE report, the Committee note that the soft drink industry remains not only
unregulated but it is also exempted from the provisions of industrial licensing under the Industries(Development and Regulations) Act, 1951. It gets a one time license to operate from the
Ministry of Food Processing Industries, which includes a no objection certificate from the localgovernment and a water analysis report from a public health laboratory. It also requires a noobjection certificate from the concerned State Pollution Control Board. There is no mandatoryrequirement for Environment Impact Assessment or citing regulations for the industry. Its use ofwater— largely unpriced ground water—is not regulated.
PROPOSED STANDARDS FOR SOFT DRINKS AS PER DRAFT NOTIFICATION ISSUED BY MINISTRY OF
HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE
2.33 After finding of pesticide residues in soft drink samples by Centre for Science and
Environment (CSE) a draft notification was issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfarespecifying the pesticides and heavy metals limits in soft drinks, fruit juice and other beverages.
Draft notification no.GSR 685 (E) (Annexure-I) dated 26th August 2003, issued by the Ministry ofHealth and Family Welfare inter alia
stipulates the amount of insecticide residues in carbonatedwater and soft drink concentrates (after dilution as per direction) as follows:—
Pesticide residues considered individually
2.34 The above norms are the same norms which have been made applicable for packaged
drinking water w.e.f.
2.35 From the files of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare pertaining to issue of Draft
notification, it was noted that draft notification was approved by the Minister for Health andFamily Welfare on 14.08.2003 and was sent to press on 25.08.2003. Asked by the Committee asto why issue of above draft notification was not stopped once it was decided that JPC wasgoing to be constituted, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a written note furnished tothe Committee stated as under:—
“The process for issue of draft notification was approved by Hon’ble HFM before theconstitution of the JPC, though the draft notification was issued thereafter, for invitingobjections and suggestions. The draft notification is subject to re-examination in the lightof comments received from various sources on such draft notification.”
2.36 The Chairman of the JPC, Shri Sharad Pawar wrote to the Union Minister of Health and
Family Welfare to extend the date for inviting the suggestions and objections on the above draftnotification. Consequently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare extended the time periodof draft notification for inviting objections and suggestions till 31st December, 2003 i.e.
by 127days and issued a revised draft notification No.GSR 769(E) (Annexure-II) dated 29.09.2003.
2.37 The Committee, noted that when first draft notification No. GSR 685(E) was issued, only
30 days time was given for inviting objections and suggestions on the draft notification.
2.38 Asked by the Committee as to why the time for inviting suggestions on draft notification
was restricted to 30 days only and the basis for extending the time period from 30 days to 127days, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its note further stated:
“There is no set standard for giving time for sending the comments on notification. Thetime can be given on the basis of the importance of the subject. In the present case30 days time was given because the matter was of urgent public importance. On earlier
occasions in some cases less than 30 days time had also been given. In this specificcase the period of 30 days was extended to 127 days based on the letter received fromChairman, Joint Parliamentary Committee on Pesticide Residues.”
2.39 The Committee asked the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare who gave his
oral evidence before the Committee to explain the present norms for carbonated water andpackaged drinking water.
“Sir, under the existing PFA rules, there is no limit set for pesticides residue in soft drinks.
The limits are set for bottled drinking water actually. There it is mentioned that it should
be below the detectable limits. That is how it is mentioned. There is no quantitative
standard which has been fixed for the pesticide residues. That means essentially it is left
to the laboratories which are testing the samples to see whether the below “detectable
” is achieved or not. As you improve the technology and as you go for new methods
of detection, this detectable limit will be come much lower and lower. There is a need
to set quantitative norms instead of just leaving it to laboratories to fix the limit. One of
the reasons why we went from the detectable limit to the quantitative standards to set
an absolute standard so that can be the basis for testing for everybody. But so far as
soft drinks are concerned, there is no specific norm set for pesticides in the notification
except saying that it should be below detectable limits.”
2.40 Asked to explain the present EU norms for soft drinks, Health Secretary in his reply stated:
“No specific norms for soft drinks but because water constitutes major component of thesoft drinks, the norms for water is the same as we have now notified that norm appliesto the soft drinks also.”
CRITERIA TO INITIATE A NEW STANDARD UNDER PFA ACT
2.41 As per a note submitted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, new standard
under PFA Act is initiated as per the criteria under Section 23 of PFA Act, 1954.
2.42 Section 23 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 lays down the procedure
for amendment of Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules including procedure prescribingamending the standards of food products. As per this provision, any proposal in respect ofinitiation of a new standard under PFA Act is considered by the Central Committee for FoodStandards, which is a statutory Committee under the Act. On the basis of the recommendationof CCFS, the draft notification is published for inviting comments. Composition of CCFS is givenin Annexure-III.
2.43 The Committee noted that revised norms for water were adopted for bottled drinking
water which have come into effect from 1.1.04 after due deliberations and recommendation ofCentral Committee for Food Standards, which deals with setting of standards for various fooditems under PFA Act.
2.44 However strangely, CCFS was not consulted before issuing draft notification No. GSR
685(E) dated 26 August, 2003, stipulating pesticide residue standards in soft drinks, fruit juice andother beverages.
2.45 When asked by the Committee as to why CCFS was not consulted before issue of draft
notification, in reply, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in their note furnished to theCommittee stated as under:
“The draft notification proposing requirements of pesticide residues and other contaminantswas issued as per the provisions contained in Section 23 of the PFA Act, 1954. The matterwas of public importance, so the draft notification was issued without prior consultationwith CCFS. As provided under Section 23 of the Act, the CCFS may be consulted withinsix months of the making of the rules.”
2.46 Since water is the major constituents of carbonated water (92%) and the norms for
pesticide residues in bottled water are proposed to be extended to soft drinks as well, vide
thedraft notification issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Committee first discussedin detail various issues which led to adoption of EU water norms for pesticide residues in bottledwater.
2.47 During evidence the Committee asked the representatives of the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare as to whether other norms were also considered before adopting EU water normsand the justification due to which CCFS recommended EU water norms for bottled drinkingwater. In reply, Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated:
“….The issue before the Committee was that we should have the best standards becausepeople are paying for this water. We did not examine the standards available in thewhole world. We were concentrating on the issue that our people should have the bestand the European norms are very high and people are paying for this bottled water.
That was at the back of the mind of the experts. This is what was recommended. I willsay that these recommendations were advisory in nature.”
2.48 Asked further as to whether the decision of CCFS of considering and recommending
only EU norms was a correct one. In reply, DGHS during his evidence stated:
“If you look at the limited point from the point of view of public health, then probablythe recommendations were correct. It is because people should have the best. This is notsomething that everyone consumes. The Committee was conscious of the fact that theseare very stringent norms and the normal water that we take from the tap probablywould have far more pesticide content than other things that we take. It was weighingon the minds of the members of this Committee that people who pay high amounts forthis bottled water must have the best.”
2.49 BIS in their presentation informed the Committee that they had considered limits and
norms of WHO, USEPA and other agencies before adopting EU norms.
2.50 Giving justification behind the recommendation made by CCFS for adopting EU water
norms for bottled water, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated as under:
“There are about 49 pesticides for which norms are prescribed by various countries in theworld. The WHO norm for the pesticides covers only 24 pesticides out of these 49 pesticides.
The WHO norm does not cover all the 49 pesticides which are found in the undergroundwater. It prescribes only for 24 pesticides.
So far as the US EPA is concerned, the norms are prescribed only for 21 of these 49pesticides for which limits need to be set. Whereas, the EU norms set a limit for all these49 pesticides. That is one of the important factors which weighed with the Committeewhile taking the decision.”
2.51 On the concern expressed by Committee that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
had merely copied EU norms, without considering other norms and applied them for bottledwater, the Health Secretary stated:
“I once again, submit to the Hon’ble Committee that these norms are something whichthese people can easily meet. The bottled drinking water manufacturers can very easilyget to the EU standards without investing in much of a capital equipment or anythingof the sort and without much of an increase in the price of the bottle. So, when peopleare entitled to the best standards and when norms are available for pesticides, theCommittee and the Government thought that these are the best norms that should beavailable to the people.”
2.52 The Committee asked about the expenditure which would be incurred for achieving EU
water norms. In reply, the Health Secretary stated :
“….But here, when we looked at what will be the additional cost that the bottled watermanufacturers have to incur if the norm has to be prescribed, it is coming to a marginalamount. At the most, for one bottle, it may cost 50 paise or a rupee more. Today, weare paying Rs.15 or 20 for a bottle of quality drinking water. If somebody has to pay onemore rupee, he will pay. I think a person who can afford to pay Rs. 20 can afford topay Rs. 21 also. It is not that one is burdened too much.”
2.53 On the proposed standards for soft drinks and other beverages, Secretary, Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare during his evidence before the Committee stated:
“So far as soft drinks and other fruit juices are concerned, the draft notification mentionsthese norms, but the point is, in a soft drink, it is not just water there are many otherconstituents like sugar and other additives which have their own pesticide standards. So,definitely we look at soft drinks as a bottled product comprising of water and all thesethings.”
2.54 The Committee pointed out that soft drinks besides water contain other ingredients also
and it was not possible to equate soft drinks with water and asked as to why EU norms forwater were made applicable to soft drinks as well. In reply, Health Secretary stated:
“…the draft notification is only meant to initiate a debate on this issue and invite claimsand objections from different interested parties and then it again goes to an ExpertCommittee. It deliberates and then the final notification is issued. So, in most of ournotifications, between the draft notification and the final notification, there are a lot ofvariations.”
2.55 The Committee also invited representatives of Association of Indian Bottled Water
Manufacturers to tender evidence before them. When asked by the Committee as to whatwere the methods and equipments available to make water free from all contamination, inreply the President of Association of Indian Bottled Water Manufacturers stated “There are lotsof technologies available”. Asked further as to whether through the above methods waterimpurity could be removed, his reply was in affirmative. Asked by the Committee about the costof purification and treatment of water, in reply, representative of Bottled Water ManufacturersAssociation stated:
“processing cost is relatively small, very small. EU and WHO will not make a difference.”
2.56 Asked to indicate exactly the expenditure incurred for purification and processing of
“May be two paise to four paise; including standardisation of the product and everything.”
2.57 The Committee asked the views of two major soft drink manufacturing companies viz.
Coca Cola India and Pepsi Co India Holdings Private Limited on the proposed standards for softdrinks and the standards for soft drinks in other countries. In reply Coca Cola India in their notefurnished to the Committee stated:
“…… proposed standards on pesticide residues do not follow the guidelines for settingstandards for foods as per Codex Alimentarius. World wide standards are made only onagricultural commodities and not on finished products. Standards should be based onsound science and risk analysis. The above standard (GSR 685 E) is not based on scientificrisk assessment nor does it consider any generally applied risk analysis principles. Thisproposed standard is based on the EC regulation for pesticides in potable water that isnot even intended for multi-ingredient foods like soft drinks in Europe, only to the waterused on the manufacture of foods and beverages. Soft drinks contain other ingredientsin addition to water, such as sugar and other plant derived materials that are permittedto contain acceptable levels of pesticide residues. The European norm for water wasbased on the technical limit of quantification and it was recognized that not all countrieswill be able to meet this level of quantification. It is generally understood that productcontaining agricultural ingredients such as sugar and juice cannot be regulated as water.
The only common standard in other countries is that water used as an ingredient inmanufacture of soft drinks and other processed food industries should meet the samestandards as laid down for drinking water. We are not aware of any country that regulatespesticides in a composite food like soft drinks as proposed in the draft notification. Thisis not done in the Europe nor in the United States and would be contrary to the prevailinginternational practice. It is well recognized by regulatory authorities worldwide thatagricultural ingredients such as sugar and juice may contain low levels of pesticide residuesand, therefore, soft drinks are not regulated as water.”
2.58 Criticising the setting of standards for pesticide residues in water as per EU norms for soft
drinks, Coca Cola India in its note further stated:
“We would like to dispel the myth that “the regulations for drinking water can be appliedto soft drink despite complexity of the matrix.” This can be substantiated by thecommunication received from The Executive Office of Health and Human Services of theCommonwealth of Massachusetts (USA), which clearly states that “ … While water maybe the primary ingredient in a carbonated, non alcoholic beverage, the finished product’sanalytical profile can be and usually is, affected by the addition of syrups, fruits, etc. Itis our belief that one cannot utilize the same standards for two products with significantlydifferent ingredients.
Soft drinks contain many other ingredients apart from water such as sugar, carbon dioxide,acidulants, preservatives, colouring and flavouring agents. Soft drinks contain ingredientswhich can interfere with the accurate determination of pesticide residue levels. The limitsof determination for pesticides residues in a food matrix like soft drink will be quitedifferent from the limit of determination for accurate detection in water. These are thetwo important reasons why simply adopting drinking water standards is also not appropriatefor soft drinks or other composite food products. Pesticide application should be more
effectively managed at the source in the agricultural sector. Government, therefore needsto establish Maximum Residue Limits(MRL) for farm products & Raw Agricultural Commodities(RAC) only as the most effective, enforceable control point in the entire food chain. Thiscan be achieved by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Hence Pesticide Residuestandards on complex, processed foods and beverages are not required. While theGovernment should adopt a high level of health protection in the development of foodlaw it should apply such a law in a non-discriminatory manner.”
2.59 Pepsi Co. India holding Private Limited gave following views on setting of standards of
limits for pesticide residues in water in soft drinks:
“As far as the proposed pesticide residue limits on finished beverages are concerned, itis not possible for any manufacturer (anywhere in the world) of beverages containingfruits, vegetables, sugar etc. which are of agriculture origin would be in a position toachieve these norms consistently. It is more important to fix pesticide residue norms ontreated water which is used as an ingredient to prepare finished beverages, in line withWHO drinking water standards. The limits of heavy metals in finished beverages should bein line with CODEX as per our stated national policy of harmonization of food safetylaws.”
2.60 Both Pepsi Co. India and Coca Cola India vehemently opposed the setting of Indian
Standards are for bottled drinking water to soft drinks as well on the plea that these standardswere same as EU norms which were not based on any scientific criteria. They pleaded thatstandards for water used for manufacturing soft drinks should be based on WHO guidelines forwater.
2.61 The Committee asked both the representatives of Pepsi Co. India and Coca Cola India
as to what was the quality of water being used in their plants for manufacturing soft drinks. Inreply a representative of Pepsi Co. India during his evidence before the Committee stated:
“Till February, when the CSE report was out our processes were engineered to deliver atleast up to the Indian guidelines, up to the USEPA guidelines and WHO guidelines inwhich after that particular date when we are now checking our water against EU waternorms. When we checked water against EU water norms, we were pleasantly surprisedthat our processes were engineered to even meet the EU water norms.
Till that time, the EU water norm was not even on the table. Therefore, over the pastmany years that we have been operating in the country we have been delivering waterin accordance with international guidelines and we discovered this year that they arealso meeting the EU water norms as such. We have been supplying clean water to theConsumers. There is no ambiguity about that.”
In this regard, a representative of Coca-Cola India stated as under:
“…….the big allegation against us was that we are not cleaning up water. We havegone on record to say that all our 52 plants meet treated water as per EU norms orIndian Standard norms.”
2.62 The Committee asked the representatives of Pepsi Co. India as to whether they check
the quality of sugar before adding it in the soft drink. In reply, a representative of Pepsi Co.
India stated as under:
“No Sir, because that is not the practice any where”.
2.63 Asked further as to whether they have the latest technology to clean the sugar so as
to make it totally free from pesticides. In reply, a representative of Pepsi Co. India duringevidence stated as under:
“…… yes, there are some technologies available for reducing pesticide residues from thesugar itself. It means using hot carbon treatment and, like you have quoted other majorcola companies, we have exactly the same process of using hot carbon treatmentwhich can reduce to some extent but not all the extent. If you have seen the datawhich has been given, the fact is that in 50 per cent of the cases it has been reducedand in the rest 50 per cent of the cases, it has not been reduced. These are not reallyevolved technologies and hence, the possibility of something coming out of the sugarand rightly so, it is not illegal because the farmer is using what is being recommended.
All these exist.”
2.64 On cleaning up of sugar, a representative of Coca-Cola India stated as under:
“We cannot guarantee about sugar because the amount we will reduce will depend onthe intake of the sugar. It will depend on batch to batch. We have shown you that weare taking all possible steps to clean the sugar coming, including buying the right sugar,authorizing the mills etc.”
2.65 Representatives of CSE appeared before the Committee to tender their oral evidence.
The Committee asked CSE as to why the pesticides found in soft drinks were compared with EUlimit for individual pesticides in water. In reply, representative of CSE during her evidence beforethe Committee stated as under:
“We chose EU norms because it is the cheapest to implement in this country. Let us bevery clear because it is for single pesticide and multiple pesticides residue. You do notput in the money that you have to regulate 100 different pesticides and test differentpesticides. You have a single value. As environmentalists, we very strongly believe that itis cheaper for you to pre-empt the problem. Therefore, you have to have tight systemsand tight standards today because you are too poor to clean up. We have consistentlymade the point that even if the West can pay to clean up, you are too poor to cleanup. What will rural India do? They cannot buy bottled water. Therefore, we have to putinto place the most stringent requirements today and then, insist that they get followed—if not today, by tomorrow or day after or day after— but we have to have the willingnessto say that health and public health cannot be jeopardised.”
2.66 Asked by the Committee to explain as to how standards for soft drinks should be set.
In reply, representative of CSE during her evidence before the Committee stated:
“Standards for soft drinks are set on the basis of the MRLs of the ingredients. With multipleresidues, it will be the sum of the MRLs of the various commodities as proportionatelypresent. Therefore, if you take soft drinks and if you look at the FPO, Fruit Products Order,it says that a minimum of five percent sugar is allowed in soft drinks and three percentcould be other constituents. We do not know about what other constituents are. Nocompany has made it public. We know that caffeine is in it, but we do not know ofother things that are part of other constituents. Ninety-two percent has to be water.
Therefore, you would set the MRL by setting five percent of sugar MRL plus three percentof other MRLs.”
2.67 In a subsequent note CSE stated as under:
“….To set the pesticide standard for the finished product (ready to drink) you wouldcalculate : (5% of sugar MRL) + (3% of other MRL) + (92% of water MRL).
As there is no MRL-standard-for sugarcane (hence sugar) for DDT, lindane, chlorpyrifos,malathion in the Indian law, that is, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act or even inEU standards or USEPA, or CODEX, there can be no acceptable limit for these pesticidesin sugar. Therefore, there will be no allowance for 5 per cent of the sugar MRL.
Similarly, there is no information about what constitutes 3 per cent of the soft drink andno MRL can be accepted.
Therefore, the MRL for the finished product would be as follows:
= (5% of sugar MRL) + (3% of other MRL) + (92% of water MRL)
= 0 + 0 + 92% of water MRL = 92% of water MRL
In other words, the MRL of the finished soft drink would be 8 per cent less than the MRLset for water, or even more stringent than the water MRL.”
2.68 Asked by the Committee as to whether above method of calculation of MRL for soft
drinks was correct. In reply, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in their note furnished to theCommittee stated as under:
“The MRL of pesticide residues has to be fixed on the final products. Because theingredients used in preparation of food products are processed during manufacturing thefinal products. Water is the principal constituent in soft drinks. The other ingredients usedin the products are food additives and sugar. Food additives are not agricultural productsso there are no chances of presence of pesticide residues in these products. The maximumamount of sugar used in these products is 5 percent. Sugar (5 percent) is not likely toincrease the pesticide residues in soft drinks.”
2.69 The Committee asked the views of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries on setting
of pesticide residues standards in soft drinks. In reply the Ministry of Food Processing Industries intheir note stated as follows:
“The finished products consist of a number of ingredients. For example, the SweetenedAerated Waters (also called soft drink) are manufactured by mixing water, sugar, additiveslike preservatives, colours, flavours etc. and addition of carbon-di-oxide. Even if it is assumedthat the processing water will have the limits of pesticide residues as per EU norms,pesticide residues will come in the final products by virtue of sugar and other ingredients.
It is technically not feasible to bring out the levels of pesticide residue in sugar. Therefore,it will not be technically feasible and practicable to prescribe the levels of pesticideresidue at par with the level of packaged drinking water.”
2.70 Giving his views on practice of setting of standards elsewhere and the standards that
should be fixed for soft drinks, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries during his evidencebefore the Committee stated as under:
“The CODEX and other international norms follow the principle of residue limits for all finalproducts. It should be derived on a product to product basis as summation of MRL. Thisis the point our Health Secretary had also made that if Coca-Cola consists of water plussugar, additives and preservatives, then we have to sum the pesticide residue to eachone of these ingredients and then arrive at the residue for the final product.”
2.70A. As per a note furnished to the Committee, the standards of soft drinks have been
On perusal of these standards it has been observed that in many of the countries requirements
of metal contaminants have been prescribed. Japan has prescribed the standards of water tobe used in manufacture of carbonated beverages. Requirement of pesticide residues incarbonated beverages has not been prescribed which means that these products should befree from pesticide residue because these are not agricultural produce and hence there is nolikelihood that pesticide residues will be present in these products.
2.71 Giving their views on the methodology of calculation of MRL for finished products, CFTRI
in their note furnished to the Committee stated:
“Perhaps the better way of calculation of MRL would be based on dietary intake valueincluding water. The total intake of pesticide through all sources of food and water shallnot exceed the ADI. The MRLs are calculated based on the total consumption of thespecific product mg/person/day and not based on individual ingredients present in thatproduct. This is not scientifically justified. The total quantity of pesticide ingested iscompared with ADI to know the safety of the pesticide consumed. The total consumptionof a particular agricultural commodity must also include finished product and also onconsumption pattern. In this process, since soft drinks are in question, the MRLs becalculated including their calculated average daily intake also. Such food pattern changedoes happen in a changing society and we must give corrections to MRL dynamicallyfrom time to time and revisit it but finally adhering to the highest food safety aspect forthe consumer.”
2.72 At present, MRLs for pesticide residues have not been laid down under FPO 1955 and
PFA 1954 with regard to SAW (soft drinks), fruit juices and other beverages. In a note furnishedby the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the Committee were informed that in view ofrecent deliberations on the need for scientifically arriving at MRLs of pesticide residues of variousfood items, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries sent samples of soft drinks and other fruitproducts covered under FPO, 1955 to CFTRI, Mysore to assess the present levels of pesticideresidues in these products and has also asked the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad tostart work to assess the acceptable daily intake of these products to work out the safe limits.
Use of Ground Water
2.73 CSE has in their report inter alia
stated that use of water by soft drink manufacturers is
unpriced and unregulated. The Committee asked the manufacturers of major soft drink companiesviz
. Pepsi Co. India and Coca Cola India about the extent of use of water by them and
whether they were paying any price for using water as raw material. In reply, Pepsi Co. Indiaholding in their note furnished to Committee stated :
“Pepsi Co. has in total 15 operational bottling plants throughout the country. The Companyhas taken the required approvals from the concerned authorities for use of water in themanufacturing of soft drinks and is paying the water charges as applicable throughoutthe country. The position of water charges paid by the Company in various parts of Indiais given in Annexure-IV.”
2.74 On the question of payment of price, the Coca Cola India stated:
“The water is not free. At all manufacturing facilities we pay water cess charges. Alsonumber of units are being charged for water from irrigation department and industrialdevelopment corporation”.
2.75 In a subsequent note, Coca Cola India stated that all the bottled water plants of the
company have applied for registration with Central Ground Water Authority alongwith registrationfee duly paid as indicated below:-—
Cm/L No. CGWA Whether Registration fee paid
Not required as they are using water from Govt.
First Application on Aug. 02, then it wascommunicated that it is not required, againreapplied on May 03.
Renewal for the Registration done in Oct. 03
and the registration valid till 2005. All BorewellsExternal lab reports are sent to the authority.
Applied in July 2001, contained in July 2003.
Applied in Oct. 2002. Assessed in April 03
Certification not obtained till date.
Applied in July 2001 and got in July 2003
Applied first on Jan 01, Reapplied on March 03,but no response till date.
Not required as they are using water from Govt.
Not required as they are using water from reservoir.
Applied in 1998 at the time of plant commissioning,the four borewells have been registered at 84 KL/day applied for re-registration in 2003 for highercapacity, but no response on that till date.
Applied in 2001, assessment by local authority
happened in 2003 till date no certificate obtained.
Applied in July 2003 got communication from
CGWA, that the plant is not under notified area so
Applied in May 2003 assessment by local authority
happened in July 2003, till date no certificate
Applied in July 03 got no objection certificate from
Ground Water Authority at the State level.
Applied in Oct. 2001 till date no response from
Not required as they are using surface water.
Not required as it is not within the critical zone.
Applied on 2001, got registration in 2001. The
Applied on 2002, got the registration in July 2003.
Applied in 2002, got the certiication in July 2003.
2.76 The Committee asked the representatives of Association of Indian Bottled Water
Manufacturers during evidence as to whether they were paying any charges for using groundwater, in reply their representative stated : “No there is No charge. Nobody has asked for it.”
2.77 Asked by the Committee as to whether permission is taken from Gram Panchayat or
any local body for drawing ground water, in reply, he stated:
“No Sir. But in some places you are required to have the permission for digging boringwells, like in Mumbai where you have to take the permission of the Municipal Corporation.
I do not know about other places whether the permission is required or not.”
ROLE OF CENTRAL GROUND WATER AUTHORITY
2.78 The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been constituted as an Authority on the
directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India taking into consideration “the urgent need forregulating the indiscriminate boring and withdrawal of ground water in the country”. CentralGround Water Authority (CGWA) is exercising powers conferred, under Environment ProtectionAct, 1986, for regulating the quantitative aspects of ground water resources.
2.79 As per the notification dated 14.01.1997, the CGWA has been constituted for “the
purposes of regulation and control of Ground Water Management and Development….” Thefunctions of the Authority are further specified at para 2 (iii) which reads as under:
“to regulate indiscriminate boring and withdrawal of ground water in the country and toissue necessary regulatory directions with a view to preserve and protect the groundwater.”
2.80 To a question by the Committee as to whether Central Ground Water Authority was
charging any money for use of ground water by soft drink and bottled water industries, CGWAin their note furnished to the Committee stated:
“As water is State subject, the issues relating to pricing policy for use of ground waterand various legal aspects involved are examined and decided by the State. State PollutionControl Boards except J&K are reported to levy and collect cess from industries underWater (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977. In addition to this, it is alsoreported that in some States, industries located in industrial development areas arecharging for use of ground water at rates decided by the concerned States.”
2.81 Pointing out the mandate of CGWA which inter alia
requires them to regulate and
control ground water management and development in the country, the Committee asked asto whether any money was being charged by CGWA from soft drink manufacturing companiesfor using ground water. In reply the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources stated:
“So far as we know, the Government is charging no money for this purpose.
Secondly, you are aware of the statutory position. The statutory position about theownership of the ground water is this. Whoever has the land is the owner of the waterwhich can be extracted from the land. That is the position of the Act. If an agriculturisttakes out water from his land, it is his land. The Government has nothing to do with it.
So, this is the statutory position.”
2.82 The Committee pointed out that the extraction of water by industrial houses could lead
to over exploitation of water and asked as to whether any steps were being taken by theMinistry of Water Resources and Central Ground Water Authority in this regard. In reply, theSecretary of Ministry of Water Resources further stated:
“……………Now we have made a detailed procedure for entertaining applications forextraction of ground water for industrial purposes in which we asked them to give detailslike depth of the borewell/tubewell, what will be the diameter of the borewell/tubewell,horse power of the machine which will extract water, for how many hours would thatwork, then distance of borewell from septic tank, soap-pit, sewer line or any source ofcontamination, quality of water which is going to be extracted, that is, pH colour, odourand various other parameters, distance from any other borewell, well and tubewell nearby,etc.
In fact, as far back as 1998, the Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board wrote to usand also to all the Chairmen of the State Pollution Control Boards and of Union Territoriesthat industries must observe a discipline. It must be ensured that indiscriminate grant ofpermission to industries to extract water should not result in a situation—which youmentioned—that exploitation should not result in a situation where water become scarcefor concentrated urban areas, for that matter even in village areas. So, this is the kindof precaution that we have got.”
2.83 Asked to comment on the impact of over exploitation of ground water on the water
supply in the adjacent areas, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources stated:
“……………… I think, our ground water authorities are monitoring the situation. This is notthe case.
Secondly, wherever industrial units are going to be set up, they have to take water fromsomewhere.”
2.84 To a question as to whether there should be a policy to restrict commercial use of
ground water in water scarce areas. In reply, the Ministry of Water Resources in their notestated:
“Yes commercial use of ground water in water scarce areas need to be regulated.”
284A. To a question as to whether water being used for commercial purposes should be
charged, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources stated:
“I think, in some point in future we might have to consider it. I think this is my personalopinion end this is not the considerate opinion of the Ministry but I think some kind oflevy or some charge might be there only for industrial purposes.”
2.85 For regularising usage of ground water, the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources,
“….As you might be aware, eighty per cent of the drinking water needs of the countryare being met from ground water and only twenty per cent needs are being met fromsurface water. What we need to do is to regulate it in a proper manner and not to havea complete ban or clamp a total shut down of use of ground water for industrial purposes.
As you rightly said, the precautions like avoiding over exploitation, like avoiding anyhardship to neighbouring areas, neighbouring urban population or neighbouring ruralpopulation must be observed very strictly. We will certainly try to do that and we will,after your direction, do that even more vigorously in future.”
2.86 When asked as to why CGWA was not restraining the extraction of water for private
commercial activities through notification, CGWA in their note furnished to the Committee stated:
“The notification of the areas for regulating ground water development is done on thebasis of ground water resource evaluation of large area like blocks/watersheds inconsultation with State Governments after incorporation of water level data recordscollected by the States. As already clarified CGWA intervenes in areas, where there isover-exploitation of ground water. In case of heavy withdrawal of ground water byprivate commercial activities resulting in decline of ground water level, necessary actionfor notification of that block/watershed is taken by CGWA.”
2.87 The Committee pointed out that one of the functions of CGWA pertained to the study
in the field of ground water pollution and environment and asked as to whether the authorityhad initiated any action in this regard. In reply the Chairman, CGWA stated:
“Primarily, we are looking into the over exploited aspects and along with that, we aregoing into the qualitative aspects regarding inorganic elements. In case of qualitativeaspects, we do testing in our labs on a regular basis and, in case, we find that thequality has been affected because of over exploitation, we notify that area.”
2.88 Asked further as to what CGWA was doing to test the percentage of noxious elements
including the insecticides in potable water, the Chairman, CGWA stated:
“…. So far as the issue of pesticide residues is concerned, the Board is not doing anything.
However, we have a plan to introduce the testing of various pesticide elements…. Wehave already started testing the arsenic elements. We have tested in West Bengal, thenwe have started testing in Bihar and will start in other parts of the country also on aregular basis. Earlier, it was not done, but we are in the process of starting that. I think,this year, we will start testing the arsenic elements.”
CENTRAL AND STATE LEGISLATION ON WATER
2.89 In view of unchecked and unregulated over exploitation of ground water, the Committee
asked as to whether Ministry of Water Resources and CGWA had ever initiated any action formaking a Central Legislation on water. In reply, the Ministry of Water Resources in their notefurnished to the Committee stated:
“The issue of enactment of Central Legislation on regulation and control of ground waterwas considered in the year 1989 in consultation with the Ministry of Law. They hadopined that:
“The ground water cannot be covered under item 54 or item 56 of the Union List of theIndian Constitution. It may rather be emphasized that the underground water is coveredunder the State list item no. 17 within the water and water supplies etc.”.”
2.90 They were again requested in September, 2003 to tender their advice in the matter.
“The above view is the correct legal and constitutional position. The above note wasalso shown to the then Additional Secretary. We once again reiterate the view takenvide
note dated 20.10.1989.”
2.91 The matter was subsequently considered and the Ministry of Law was requested to
indicate if Central Legislation in the matter could be considered under Article 252 of theConstitution. The advice of the Ministry of Law is as under:
“Article 252 of the Constitution in respect of subject falling under State List, empowers theParliament to legislate for two or more States by consent and adoption of such legislationby any other State. ***** In view of above provisions of Article 252 of the Constitution,if the requirements of said Article are fulfilled, then it will be possible for Parliament tomake Law to regulate and control the development of ground water, which falls underState List.”
Under Article 252, Parliament could pass an act in the matter only if Resolutions to that
effect are passed by both the Houses of Legislatures of two or more States and the Act
so passed shall apply to such States only and any other State by which it is adopted
afterwards by Resolution passed in that behalf by the House or, where there are twoHouses, by each of the Houses of the Legislature of that State. So far, none of the State
Legislatures has passed such Resolution. Therefore, the requirement of Article 252 of the
Constitution are presently not fulfilled.
Under these circumstances, it is considered that purpose of enactment of central legislation
will be served, if the State Governments enact legislation for regulation/development of
2.92 Asked further as to whether any of the States had enacted legislation pertaining to use
of water. In reply, the Ministry in their note stated:
“The Ministry of Water Resources had circulated a Model Bill for adoption of the Statesto regulate over-exploitation of ground water as early as 1970. The Model Bill was modified
and re-circulated in September, 1992 and June, 1996 to States/Union Territories requesting
them to take necessary action for enactment. The salient features of the Model Bill are
Establishment of Ground Water Authority by the State/Union Territory Government to frame
broad policies for administration of the legislation.
Empowering the State/Union Territory Government to control and/or regulate in public
interest, the extraction or use or both in any form, in any area so notified, based on a
report from the Ground Water Authority.
Requiring users of ground water to seek permission from the State Ground Water Authority
to sink a well in the notified area for any purpose including domestic use made either
With a view to bringing equity in the distribution of the resource, the ‘Small’ and ‘Marginal’
farmers have been exempted from seeking prior permission for construction of a well/
.tubewell provided the water is intended to be used exclusively for personal purposes
excluding commercial use. Such users shall, however, have to inform the Authority of their
intentions to construct a well/tubewell.
Registration of existing users in the notified as well as non-notified areas in the States/UTs.
Manually driven wells e.g. hand pump, or wells where water is drawn by rope or bucket,
So far, the Government of Goa, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry and Kerala have
enacted legislation in this regard. “Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Tree, Act 2002” has
been enacted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh with effect from April, 2002. Gujarat
Ground Water Authority has also been formed by the Government of Gujarat for control
and regulation of ground water resources.
The salient features of these legislation are as follows:
—”The Goa Ground Water Regulation Act, 2002 (Goa Act 1 of 2002)” was adopted
(a) It provides for Creation of Ground Water Cell in consultation with whom, an area can
(b) The legislation prohibits any person from transporting ground water from a source of
(c) The Ground Water Officer may take steps for prohibiting sinking of new wells, except
for drinking purpose, in areas declared as Water Scarcity Areas or as over-exploitedareas.
(d) The Ground Water Officer can also direct the owner of existing well in over-exploited
areas to stop extraction of water forthwith and to close or seal the well on paymentof compensation.
(e) The Ground Water Officer has also been authorized for acquisition of any well or
water source from its owner in public interest for providing water for drinking purposes.
(f) It also envisages taking protection measures for public drinking water source and
existing ground water structures in non-scheduled areas.
2. Tamil Nadu
—Tamil Nadu Ground Water (Development and Management) Act, 2003
(a) It provides for conjunctive use of surface and ground water.
(b) Electrical energy not to be supplied for energizing wells sunk in contravention of the
(c) New provision like inviting/response to proposed notification of areas, periodic
assessment of ground water resources in notified area, consultation with body etc.,have been made.
—Lakshadweep Ground Water Development and Control (Regulation)
Act, 2001 was adopted on 01.11.2001. It is on the lines of Model Bill.
—Pondicherry Ground Water (Control and Regulation) Act, 2002 was
—Kerala Ground Water (Control and Regulation) Act, 1997 was adopted on
6. Andhra Pradesh
—”Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Tree Act, 2002" was adopted on
The Act provides for constitution of Water, Land and Trees Authority, which will, inter-alia
take ground water protection measures like registration of well, prohibition ofwater pumping in certain areas, permission for well sinking near drinking water source,protection of public drinking water sources, registration of drilling rigs, prohibition ofwater contamination etc. The act also provide measures to improve ground waterresources by rain water harvesting structures, re-use of water etc.”
2.93 Asked as to what steps had been taken by the Ministry of Water Resources and CGWA
to pursue the matter with State Governments. The Ministry of Water Resources in their notefurther stated as under:
“The matter has been repeatedly pursued with the State Governments at different levelsand the following reminders were sent to them:
1. From Union Minister for Water Resources on 13.09.1996
2. From Union Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources on 09.12.1996.
3. From Union Minister of State for Water Resources on 04.08.1999.
4. From Union Minister for Water Resources on 01.02.2002.
5. From Union Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources on 05.09.2002.
6. From Joint Secretary (Admn.), Ministry of Water Resources on 27.03.2003.
7. From Union Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources to Secretary Water Resources/Irrigation
of 25 States/UTs on 23.09.2003 and 20.10.2003.
The matter has also been discussed with the representatives of the State Governmentsduring meetings held with them from time to time in connection with various issuesrelating to water resources at different levels and they have been requested to expeditesuch legislation. The last round of such discussions were held at the level of Secretary(WR) in August-September, 2003.”
SAFETY OF SOFT DRINKS
2.94 Centre for Science and Environment in their report had inter alia
stated that the number
of times the pesticide residues in soft drinks were higher than EU limits for water ranged from11 to 70 time in 6 samples out of 12 samples tested by them. CFTRI Mysore and CFL, Kolkatahad also reported that the number of times the pesticide residues were higher than EU limitsranged from 1.2 to 5.22 times in 9 out of 12 samples tested by them.
2.95 Pointing out that despite detection of pesticides in soft drinks above EU limits, how the
soft drinks manufacturing companies claimed that their products were safe and were within EUlimits, in reply, Pepsi Co India Holding in their note furnished to the Committee stated as under:
“(a) There are no existing EU standards for pesticide residues in finished soft drinks. The
only standard specified for pesticide residue in soft drinks stipulates that the waterused to manufacture soft drinks need to conform to EU drinking water guidelines.
Treated water in all our plants currently conform to EU norms.
(b) In addition, pesticide residues are controlled on the raw agricultural commodities by
ensuring that Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are employed.
(c) We are, therefore, within EU standards for the treated water used for beverage
production, and all applicable raw materials which comprise our beverage.
(d) In fact, products manufactured by us in India, from a quality perspective, can be
sold anywhere within the member States of the EU.”
2.96 Elaborating further, Pepsi Co in their note furnished stated:
“First of all, we would like to state that comparing finished product pesticide residueresults with any drinking water norms is incorrect and unscientific. This is never doneanywhere in the world.
We also note the variability of the results from the two most respected laboratories in thecountry (CFTRI and CFL). The possible reasons for this variability are the analytical challengeswhich are there when analyzing complex matrices at sub-ppb levels.
However, even if the highest reported residues are assumed to be present all the timein all the soft drinks, their level is less than 0.1% of the respective Acceptable DailyIntakes (ADIs). This miniscule level gives us the confidence that our products are safe.
Additionally, compared to any other refreshment beverages for example nimboo pani,tea, and coffee, where the MRLs are 100 to 1000 times higher than the reported resultsin soft drinks, further reinforces our belief that our product is safe compared to any otherfood/beverages normally consumed.”
2.97 Coca Cola India gave following justification for the safety of their products:
“The EC norms for water do not apply to soft drinks even in Europe. Analytical resultsconducted in independent laboratories in India and in Europe (in Holland and in theU.K.) do show that our ingredient water meets the stringent European standards for potablewater. Therefore, our soft drinks would be acceptable in Europe as well.
There are no standards for pesticide residues for soft drinks in EU or CODEX. There arestandards for water that is to be used in manufacture of food products. Our treatedwater results confirm that water meets all local as well as EU norms.”
EFFECT OF PESTICIDE IN SOFT DRINKS ON THE HEALTH
2.98 The CSE mainly found 4 pesticides in the soft drinks which were— Lindane, DDT and its
metabolites, Malathion and Chlorpyrifos. The CSE stated that these pesticides were harmful forthe health of the human being. Giving the harmful effects of each of the above four pesticides,the CSE in their reply inter alia
Lindane is absorbed through respiratory, digestive or cutaneous routes and accumulatesin fat tissues. It damages human liver, kidney neural and immune systems and inducesbirth defects, cancer and death.
Chronic administration results in endocrine disruption in birds as well as in mammals.
DDT and its metabolites
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and its metabolites were detected in 81% of thesoft drink samples. They have been linked to altered sexual development in various species,to a decrease semen quality and to increased risk of breast cancer in women.
Chronic exposure to chlorpyrifos has been shown to cause immunological change.
Comparison of chronic health complaints of twenty-nine individuals exposed to chlorpyrifoswith respect to peripheral lymphocyte phenotypes; autoantibodies (nucleic acids and
nucleoproteins, parietal cell, brush border, mitochondria, smooth muscle, thyroid gland,and central nervous system/peripheral nervous system myellin) and compared with 3control groups (i.e
. 1 positive 2 negative) showed an increase in CD 26 expression, adecrease in percentage of CD5 phenotype, decreased mitogenesis in response tophytohemagglutinin and concanavillion, and an increased frequency of autoantibodies.”.
It has been shown to cause birth defects in a variety of wildlife and at levels lower thanother pesticides. When administered to adult animals, malathion and relatedthiophosphonates stimulate and subsequently inhibit, the nicotinic sites in skeletal muscle,resulting in muscle weakness and paralysis. Neonates (newborn babies) are far moresensitive to these agents than adults, mainly because of a slower rate of detoxificationof the metabolite (the metabolite in this case would be the liver breakdown product ofmalathion— malaxon which has been shown to be far more toxic than malathion itself).”
2.99 Asked as to whether any study had been conducted to find out the effect of different
pesticide on human health, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in their note furnished tothe Committee stated:
“Aldrin—Aldrin has been toxicological evaluated by JECFA. The Acceptable Daily Intake(ADI) of Aldrin is 0.0001 mg/kg. Aldrin has been banned for use in the country.
Lindane—Lindane has been toxicological evaluated by JECFA. The Acceptable DailyIntake (ADI) of Lindane is 0.001 mg/kg. The use of lindane in the prescribed doses instorage and public health programme is not likely to cause any health hazard.
Endosulphan— Endosulphan has been toxicological evaluated by JECFA. The AcceptableDaily Intake (ADI) of Endosulphan is 0.006 mg/kg. The use of endosulphan in the prescribeddoses in storage is not likely to cause any health hazard.”
2.100 Besides the harmful effect of pesticide found in soft drinks, CSE stated about the
adverse impact on health of other ingredients of soft drinks as follows:
“There is a growing concern in the medical and scientific communities about the harmfuleffects of some major ingredients of soft drinks, namely, carbon dioxide, artificial sweetenerslike aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame-K etc., flavouring agents like caffeine, acids likephosphoric acid, some preservative and excessive sugar.
A methylated xanthine, caffeine is a mildly addictive stimulant drug, used in soft drinks,as a so-called “flavoring agent”. The FPO, 1955 allows 200 mg/l (ppm) caffeine in softdrinks or 60 mg per average bottle of soft drink (300 ml).
In a study conducted by the renowned Institution Johns Hopkins Medicine (Johns HopkinsHospital) in 2000 and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, USA, it was foundthat, despite claims of the soft drink manufacturers, caffeine could not be detected asa flavour in soft drinks— and its use in soft drinks is more to do with addiction to the softdrinks than flavour.
Large amounts of caffeine consumption can cause diseases and disorders such asinsomnia, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and deviations from the normal heart rate. Amajor concern about caffeine is that it increases the excretion of calcium in urine, which
increases the risk for osteoporosis in heavy caffeine consumers. Some epidemiologicalstudies correlate exposure to caffeine during pregnancy to the occurrence of congenitalmalformations, fatal growth retardation, miscarriages (spontaneous abortions), behaviouraleffects and maternal fertility problems.
The ill effect of caffeine can be gauged by the fact that the US FDA (US Food and DrugAdministration) issued an advisory in 1981 warning that “Pregnant women should avoidcaffeine-containing foods and drugs, if possible, or consume them only sparingly.” The USFDA still maintains that advisory as its official policy.
II. Artificial low-calorie sweeteners
Low-calorie sweeteners are non-sugar substances that are added to food and drinkproducts instead of sugar. They have sweetness many times greater than conventionalsugar. Artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame-K have been linkedwith numerous diseases like cancer increasingly.
Saccharin has been linked in human studies to urinary-bladder cancer and in animalstudies to cancers of the bladder and other organs. The safety or acesulfame-K, whichwas approved in 1998 for use in soft drinks in the USA, has been questioned by severalcancer experts. Acesulfame-K use in the soft drinks is also allowed under the Indian PFA,1955.
Aspartame is a potent neurotoxin and endocrine disrupter. Carefully controlled clinicalstudies show that aspartame is not an allergen. However, certain people with the geneticdisease phenylketonuria (PKU), those with advanced liver disease, and pregnant womenwith hyperphenylalanine (high levels of phenylalanine in blood) have a problem withaspartame because they do not effectively metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine,one of aspartame’s components. High levels of this amino acid in body fluids can causebrain damage. Therefore, US FDA has ruled that all products containing aspartame mustinclude a warning to phenylketonurics that the sweetener contains phenylalanine. Thisprovision has also been included in the Indian PFA and needs to be strictly enforced.
The average bottle of soft drink (300 ml) contains about 15 grams of sugar, if we followthe specifications of soft drink quality given by the FPO, 1955, PFA, 1955 and IS 2346:1992.
That’s 5 teaspoons of sugar. It is highly unlikely that an average individual would eat 5teaspoons of sugar at a time every day, and eat it more than once a day. But byconsuming soft drinks, that’s exactly what we end up doing.
It is well documented that diets high in refined sugar promotes obesity, which increasesthe risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Sugary soft drinksalso promote tooth decay. The high sugar content is a major reason why healthprofessionals are concerned about frequent consumption of soft drinks.
Dentists around the world are reporting complete loss of the enamel on the front teethin teenaged boys and girls, who habitually drink soft drinks. The culprit is phosphoric acidin soft drinks, which causes tooth rot, as well as digestive problems and bone loss.
Phosphoric acid has also been associated with calcium loss and kidney stones in numerousmedical studies. Acidic drinks increase dentin permeability by opening dentinal tubulesleaving a dentin surface completely uncovered and removing the smear layer.
Dental cavities are often associated with consumption of carbonated beverages becausethe amount of sugars that are consumed is important in forming caries caused by thebacteria mutans streptococci, which is a part of dental plaque. Lactobacillus andActinomyces viscosus are two other kinds of bacteria that adversely affect teeth andsurvive well in very acidic environments, produce high amounts of acid from sugars andother types of acid.
A common problem that is associated with the consumption of a large quantity of softdrinks is the increased acid levels throughout the body causing gastronomic distress dueto the inflammation of the stomach and erosion of the stomach lining leading to painfulstomach ache as the stomach which maintains a very delicate acid-alkaline balancecan be set out of balance by the consumption of a large number of soft drinks, whichcan create a constant acid state leading to indigestion and gassiness.
Carbon dioxide emitted from soft drinks is a waste product that humans excrete andcan be harmful when ingested at high levels. Large amounts of sugar, bubbles causedby carbon dioxide, and phosphoric acid that are found in soft drinks remove nutritiousminerals from bones allowing the bones to become weak and increasing the risk fromthem to break. This is done by the phosphoric acid disruption the calcium-phosphorusratio, which dissolves calcium from the bones.”
2.101 On the effect of pesticides on the health of human being in the Status Paper of
National Institute of Nutrition entitled “Impact of Long Term Consumption of Pesticide residues onHealth in India: Issues Needing of Further Research” has inter-alia
stated as under:
Considerable work has been carried out during the last several years in different partsof the world to find out the impact of long term consumption of pesticide residueson human health. Some of these summarized below:
Epidemiological studies carried out have focused more on relationship betweenemployment in agriculture and the incidence of congenital malformations, miscarriages,low birth weight, small for gestational age, pre-term delivery and still-births. The resultsof the analyses indicated that employment in agriculture increases the risk of congenitalmalformations to infants such as Orofacial cleft, birth marks in the form ofhaemangioma, as well as muscoloskeletal and nervous system defects but alsosignificant risk of reproductive disorders. The US collaborative Prenatal Project of NationalInstitute of Health and 12 universities strongly suggest that DDT use increases pre-termbirths.
A recent study which investigated chronic nervous system effects of long termoccupational exposure to DDT by comparing the neurobehavioural performance of
retired Malaria Control workers with a reference group of retired guards and driversindicated that DDT exposed workers did worse on tests assessing variousneurobehavioral functions than controls and the performance significantly deterioratedwith increasing years of DDT application. Mexican children living in agricultural areasrelying on the use of pesticides and comparing them to the children living in non-agriculture community indicated differences in developmental skills. Neuromusculardeficits in terms of coordination and stamina drawing and memory problems werefound with the children in the agricultural communities.
Risk of several types of cancers such as pancreatic cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,breast cancer, leukemia, liver and biliary tract cancer in humans exposed to DDThave been documented.
Higher levels of metabolite of DDT in maternal milk have been associated with shorterduration of lactation.
Pesticides such as DDT, endosulfan, dieldrin were assigned oestrogenic potencies. Theenvironmental oestrogens can enhance or inhibit the action of endogenous hormones.
2.102 Pointing out the CSE contention that due to high risk from caffeine, soft drinks Companies
were forced to sell non-caffeinated soft drinks in the US & Europe, the Committee asked the softdrinks manufacturers to give reason for selling non-caffeinated soft drink in USA & Europe andselling caffeinated soft drinks in India. In reply the Coca Cola India stated:
“The per capita consumption of soft drinks in USA & Europe are many folds higher thanin India. The Company conducts market research to find out the preferences & needsof the consumers and develops products to suit the consumer needs. Based on suchneeds Company had launched non-caffeinated products in countries like USA & Europe.
However the caffeinated products continue to have very high demand and the de-caffeinated sale is <10% because caffeine in our product is used as a flavour. Based onthe consumer research, Coca-Cola India had also launched Diet Coke in India. Currentlythe sales of Diet Coke are less than 0.5% of total sales. Our consumer research studiesdo not indicate need for such products in the near future.
The Coca Cola Company sells caffeinated soft drinks in every country in which we dobusiness, including the USA and all countries in Europe. Caffeine-free cola-products aresold in some countries, because market research has shown that a significant number ofconsumers want the choice between caffeinated and caffeine-free versions of some ofour cola products. If consumers in India show a significant interest in caffeine-free colaproducts, then these products will be offered in India along with caffeinated cola products.
We do provide several non caffeinated soft drinks in India, such as Limca, Sprite & RTSbeverages like Maaza.
Caffeine is not a harmful or “high risk” food ingredient. According to a comprehensivereview recently conducted by Canadian health officials, “The possibility that caffeineingestion adversely affects human health was investigated based on review of (primarily)published human studies obtained through a comprehensive literature search. Based onthe data reviewed, it is concluded that for the healthy adult population, moderate daily
caffeine intake at dose levels up to 400 mg day …. is not associated with adverseeffects such as general toxicity, cardiovascular effects, effects on bone status and calciumbalance (with consumption of adequate calcium), changes in adult behaviour, increasedincidence of cancer and effects on male fertility.”
It is not true that in USA soft drink companies have been forced to sell non-caffeinatedsoft drinks due to high risk from caffeine. It is out of consumer preference to drinkbeverages without caffeine than any other reasons like in overseas there are decaffeinatedcoffee available.
While many soft drinks are caffeine-free, some contain a small amount of caffeine aspart of the flavor profile. An 8-ounce serving of Coca-Cola classic has no more than 31milligrams of caffeine, which is about one-quarter the amount found in coffee, andabout one-half of the caffeine content of tea.
According to the FDA, there is no evidence to show that caffeine in carbonatedbeverages would render these beverages injurious to health. Numerous studies haveexamined the relationship between caffeine and various diseases.
The bulk of scientific research does not support a link between caffeine consumptionand heart disease, hypertension or irregular heart rate. Results of studies looking at apossible connection between caffeine and cancer confirm the position of the AmericanCancer Society, which states that ‘there is no indication that caffeine ……. is a riskfactor in human cancer’. Also, both the National Cancer Institute and the AmericanMedical Association has reported no connection between caffeine intake and fibrocysticbreast disease. And, studies involving thousands of pregnant women also fail to show anincreased risk of birth defects even among the heaviest caffeine consumers.”
2.103 About the reason for selling non-caffeinated soft drinks in USA and Europe and selling
caffeinated soft drinks in India, PepsiCo India stated as under:
“Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in the leaves, seeds or fruits of at least63 plant species worldwide, including cocoa beans, kola nuts and tea leaves. Caffeineis also added to some foods and beverages for flavor. It contributes to the overall flavorprofile of those foods in which it is added. The most commonly known sources of caffeineare coffee, tea, some soft drinks and chocolate. The amount of caffeine in food productsvaries depending on the serving size, the type of product and preparation method. Withteas and coffees, the plant variety also affects caffeine content.
In 1958, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified caffeine as GenerallyRecognized As Safe (GRAS). In 1987, the FDA reaffirmed its position that normal caffeineintake produced no increased risk to health. In addition, both the American MedicalAssociation and the American Cancer Society have statements confirming the safety ofmoderate caffeine consumption.
At the levels contained in cola beverages, caffeine has been deemed safe by the USFood and Drug Administration and other international food authorities. Coffee has 3 timesthe amount of caffeine found in colas; tea has more than twice the caffeine level.
Caffeine is also naturally present in chocolate.
Sensitivity to caffeine’s effects varies greatly among individuals. Most physicians andresearchers today agree that it’s perfectly safe for pregnant women to consume caffeine.
Daily consumption of up to 300 mg/day (approximately two to three 8 oz. cups ofbrewed coffee) has been shown to have no adverse consequences during pregnancy.
Consumption of caffeine from cola beverages is usually significantly below that amount.
However, it is wise for pregnant women to practice moderation in consumption of allfoods and beverages.”
2.104 Though major soft drinks manufacturing companies justified the use of caffeine for the
purpose of flavour and stated that it is fully safe, the representative of CSE during her evidencebefore the Committee stated that caffeine is added by soft drink manufacturers for the purposeof addiction.
2.105 In the report of Drinks and Carbonated Beverages Sectional Committee, FAD 14 of BIS,
the proposed technical recommendation on ingredients it has inter-alia
been stated that:
“Caffeine (IS 11911)—The Quantity of caffeine shall not be more than 200 mg/kg.”
NOTE 1. This requirement is as per PFA.
2. The consumer organisations, NGOs, Government institutions like NIOH, ICMR, NSI etc.
145 ppm caffeine in cola drinks and the absence of caffeine in decaffeinated
cola drinks. The group recommends the adoption of the best practice for caffeine incarbonated beverages in the world. The best practice is currently that of Australia andwe recommend that the same be followed for India also. Many countries follow similarpractice. For example China allows only 150 ppm caffeine in only in Cola beverages.
Currently under PFA, 200 ppm caffeine is allowed in carbonated beverages and nodifferentiation has been made between the Cola beverages and other beverages. Theresult is that even non-cola beverages like Pepsico’s ‘Mountain Dew’ contain one of thehighest amounts of caffeine.
In case caffeine content exceeding 145 ppm is allowed in some energy drinks,
where caffeine is added as stimulant and not as flavour as it is done in Cola drinks, thecaffeine content of more than 145 mg/l may be allowed. However, the labelingrequirement as mentioned below shall be adhered to.
1. The label on a package of formulated caffeinated beverage must include advisory
(a) The beverage contains (mention amount) caffeine;
(b) In decaffeinated ‘cola drinks’ the caffeine should be absent; and
(iii) individuals sensitive to caffeine.
2. The label on a package of formulated caffeinated beverage must include an advisory
‘Consume no more than [amount of one-day quantity (as cans, bottles or ml)] perday’.
2.106 To the allegation of CSE that consumption of large quantity of soft drinks leads to
increase in acid level throughout the body causing gastro-economic distress, the representativesof both the Companies have stated that there is no credible scientific evidence that acidicbeverages remove minerals from the body and there is no danger to consume acidic beverages.
2.107 As regards the safety of phosphoric acid, they stated that the level of phosphorous
consumed in a normal diet including cola beverages is not great enough to influence calciumbalance and is not a risk factor in the development of osteoporosis and kidney stones. Sincesoft drinks provide only 2-3 per cent of the total phosphorous in the human diet, their use doesnot lead to calcium loss.
PRESERVATIVES IN SOFT DRINKS AND THEIR EFFECT ON HEALTH
2.108 As per a note furnished by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Sulphur Dioxide,
Benzoic Acid and Ascorbic Acid and its salts have been allowed as preservatives in soft drinksunder PFA Rules, 1955. The ADI of preservations was stated to be as under:
Ascorbic Acid and its calcium/sodium/potassium salts calculated as ascorbic acid
Sodium and/or Potassium Nitrite expressedas Sodium Nitrite
2.109 On the impact of the above preservatives over the health of human beings, the
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated:
“All these preservatives have been evaluated by the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committeeon Food Additives (JECFA) and the ADI shown above have been allocated by JECFA onthe basis of toxicological evaluation of each preservatives. The use of these preservativesin the food products upto the prescribed requirements are not likely to cause any healthhazard.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, however, had not conducted any survey toassess the harmful effects of various preservatives.”
PLANTS OF COCA COLA AND PEPSI CO INDIA AT PLACHIMADA AND PALAKKAD IN KERALA
2.110 BBC in July, 2003 came out with a story stating that waste product from Coca Cola
Plant in India which the Company provides contains toxic chemicals. It was further stated thatthe chemicals were traced in investigation by BBC Radio 4’s ‘Face The Facts’ programmeprompted scientists to call for the practice to be halted immediately. The lab’s senior scientist,David Santillo, said “What is particularly disturbing is that the contamination has spread to thewater supply—with levels of lead in a nearby well at levels well above those, set by the WorldHealth Organisation.”
2.111 A non-Governmental organization in their Memorandum furnished to the Committee
stated as dangerous the features of one of the largest Cola plants in Asia, located in Plachimada,Palakkad district of Kerala, owned by Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCBPL). Itfurther stated that the situation where the Pepsi Cola Plant is operating ten kilometers awayfrom Plachimada, is no different.
“Agricultural operations have also been affected due to the operations of Coca Colacompany within a short span of three years. The working of the HCCBPL factory atPlachimada has brought untold misery to the people in the surrounding villages.
After the Cola plant started production, the water levels in the open wells in the areawere affected. When protests arose, the Cola company is said to have let into the earthwaste water through shallow tubewells. This mixed with surface water, led to the rise ofwater levels in the wells. However, these waters proved to be contaminated.
The operation of the Coca Cola Plant in Plachimada has led to various environmentalproblems: pollution of water, ground water depletion, reduced crop yields and skin disordersand other physical ailments among the inhabitants. The factory is releasing waste waterto the tune of 1.5 to 3 lakh litres per day.
The licence to the Company was given by the Perumatti Panchayat under certainconditions. As per the laws, the Company has to first get a land use certificate forindustrial purpose which was not done. It applied for installation of one pump but starteddrawing water through borewells without prior sanction and began indiscriminate use ofground water. The District Medical Officer who stipulated certain conditions like protectionof public health needs, observation of factory laws, had also instructed that beforecommencing production there should be a final fitness certificate obtained. But the Colacompany did not abide by these.
When the Panchayat asked for details, failing to comply with which they cancelled thelicence, the company disputed the very powers of the Panchayat and resorted to thepath of litigation than observing the laws and the conditions on the basis of which thelicence was issued.
On 3 November, 2003, the Perumatti Panchayat sought information on various mattersrelating to the functioning of the plant and violations by the company. HCCBPL in itsreply failed to provide the details sought by the Panchayat and instead asked thePanchayat to reply to their questions.”
2.113 Perumatti Gram Panchayat filed a petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala.
2.114 In view of the revelations made in BBC report and objections raised by NGO, the
Committee asked both the soft drink manufacturing companies to clarify the position on theworking of their plants in Kerala. On the working of their plant in Plachimada, Kerala, Coca ColaIndia stated as under:
The Coca-Cola Plant at Palakkad, Kerala, not only complies with all local regulatoryrequirements but also adheres to the stringent global company standards. It is certifiedto Environment Management Systems ISO 14001 and independent studies from Governmentagencies concerned with the environment have given our plant a clean bill of health…….
Recognizing the concerns of local people we have commissioned studies into our impacton the water supply and the State Government has also conducted their own tests.
Reports from Kerala State Ground Water Board, Central Ground Water Board and aneminent scientist from National Geophysical Research Institute in Hyderabad have, in thelast year, confirmed that the plant’s operation is not impacting the water supply to thelocal villages or depleting the aquifer.”
2.115 On the functioning of their Plant at Palakkad, PepsiCo India inter-alia
stated as follows:
“While the factual position is that Palakkad area has plenty of water in the aquifers withno sign of deficiency of water at all, we do everything possible as a responsible corporatecitizen to conserve water through good water management system. We use/draw afraction of water through bore-wells and only two bore-wells out of 7 are used by rotationwhich helps recharging of aquifers. In addition, once again as a responsible corporatecitizen, we take extra steps to conserve water. We have been practicing extensivelytechniques of water conservation.“
2.116 With all the rain water harvesting structures, the net recharge into the ground water
is more than the water drawl, thus maintaining a positive water balance in the site.
Recharging of Water
2.117 From the details given by the representatives of PepsiCo India, Committee were informed
that annual consumption of water by PepsiCo India at their plant was 300 million gallons peryear. Out of which 30 million gallons water every year is recharged i.e.
, 10% of the total waterconsumed.
2.118 Giving details of recharging the ground water at their plant by Coca Cola India, a
representative of Coca Cola India during evidence stated:
“We are recharging the ground-water. We are recharging the ground water in our PalghatPlant to the extent of 50 per cent.”
2.119 In view of allegations against major soft drink manufacturing companies regarding over
exploitation of ground water and causing environmental pollution, the Committee sought theviews of the Ministry of Water Resources, Central Ground Water Authority, the Ministry ofEnvironment and Forests and Central Pollution Control Board on their role in checking environmentpollution which was allegedly being caused by various plants of soft drink manufacturingcompanies.
2.120 In a note furnished to the Committee CPCB inter-alia
stated that they had tested the
samples of raw water as well as treated water from different bottling plants in the country andfound high levels of cadmium and heavy metals in the sludge from the effluent treatment plantsof some of the units.
2.121 As regards M/s Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Plant at Palghat, Kerala, CPCB in their
note stated that the sludge from the effluent treatment plant was hazardous as cadmium (Cd)content was found to be more than 50 mg/kg.
2.122 Accordingly, CPCB have advised the State Board to direct the concerned units to
dispose of sludge of ETP as per Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989where heavy metal concentrations are exceeding the limits.
2.123 On the action taken by Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to the advice of
CPCB, in a note furnished to the Committee, KSPCB stated:
“A joint sampling was conducted by the officers of the Board along with the officers ofthe Central Pollution Control Board at the Coca Cola factory on 12.09.2003. Sludgeanalysis revealed cadmium content upto 338.8 mg/kg. The Central Pollution Control Boardhas therefore advised the State Board to direct the Company to dispose of the effluenttreatment sludge as per the Hazardous Wastes Rules.
More detailed study will be done under different production scenario in future. Samplesof raw water from individual wells of and around the factories need be analysed. Samplesof raw materials like sugar, lime, soda ash, ferrous sulphate and activated carbon andthe intake water need also be analysed. Action in this regard is being taken.
In compliance with the Board’s instruction, the Coca Cola Company has applied forauthorization under the Hazardous Wastes Rules. The application is under processing.”
2.124 The Committee were informed by State Government of Kerala that petition No.34292/
03 filed by Perumutti Gram Panchyat before the High Court of Kerala has been disposed of bythe Hon’ble High Court on 16.12.2003.
2.125 In the judgement given by Hon’ble High Court of Kerala, it has inter-alia
“In view of the above authoritative statement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it can besafely concluded that the underground water belongs to the public. The State and itsinstrumentalities should act as trustees of this great wealth. The State has got a duty toprotect ground water against excessive exploitation and the inaction of the State in thisregard will tantamount to infringement of the right to life of the people guaranteedunder Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Apex Court has repeatedly held that theright to clean air and unpolluted water forms part of the right to life under Article 21 ofthe Constitution. So, even in the absence of any law governing ground water, I am ofthe view that the Panchayat and the State are bound to protect ground water fromexcessive exploitation. In other words, the ground water, under the land of the 2ndrespondent, does not belong to it. Normally, every land owner can draw a reasonableamount of water, which is necessary for his domestic use and also to meet the agriculturalrequirements. It is a customary right. But, here, 510 kilolitres of water is extracted per day,converted into products and transported away, breaking the natural water cycle. Aportion of the rain water is stored as ground water and the balance flows away. Theground water stored in normal circumstances is partially depleted by moderate extraction
for domestic and agricultural purposes and also by evaporation through vegetation onthe surface. Again, when the rains come, the underground reservoirs called aquifers getrecharged and the cycle goes on. If there is artificial interference with the ground watercollection by excessive extraction, it is sure to create ecological imbalance. No greatknowledge of Science or Ecology is necessary to infer this inevitable result. If the 2ndrespondent is permitted to drain away this much of water, every land owner in the areacan also do that and if all of them start extracting huge quantities of ground water, inno time, the entire panchayat will turn a desert…. Therefore, I feel that the extractionof ground water, even at the admitted amounts by the 2nd respondent is illegal. It hasno legal right to extract this much of national wealth. The Panchayat and the State arebound to prevent it. The duty of the Panchayat can be correlated with its mandatoryfunction No.3 under the third schedule to Panchayat Raj Act namely, “Maintenance oftraditional drinking water sources” and that of the State to Article 21 of the Constitutionof India. Though ground water is not expressly mentioned, Section 218 of the Act makesthe Panchayat, the custodian of all natural water resources. Therefore, the action takenby the Panchayat against the 2nd respondent to prevent extraction of ground water hasto be upheld. So Ext.P6 order, to the extent it allows the 2nd respondent to continue theextraction of water till the Panchayat decides the matter with the help of experts, cannotbe sustained. Even assuming the experts opine that the present level of consumption bythe 2nd respondent is harmless, the same should not be permitted for the followingreasons.
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