chapter  11
Lessons from Plachimada
From Anti-Coca-Cola Agitation to Democratization of Water
ByC. R. Bijoy
Pages 34

The struggle over water rights in Kerala's Plachimada has been a long drawn out one, continuing since 2002, against the global giant, Coca-Cola, which polluted and depleted the groundwater. Plachimada is in Perumatty Panchayat, one of the six panchayats in Chittoor block of Palakkad district, the rice bowl of Kerala. Kerala's Plachimada struggle carved out a distinctive place for itself among issue-based democratic struggles in India, for taking on Coca-Cola, the most well-known global brand and symbol of imperialism by the United States (US), that too by adivasis — the most marginalized people, in a sustained and persistent manner. Democratization requires a decisive move away from decentralization to a non-centralized people's participatory governance system. The chapter provides a narrative on the struggle and the way the governance structure and system responded, with reference to water and governance rights. It outlines the conflict between the constitutional provisions and statutory laws that govern water and its use.