BHOPAL: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, known to be a staunch critic of aerated drinks by cola giants, opposed the proposed Rs 750 crore processing and bottling plant by Coco Cola along river Narmada in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh on Monday.

The cola giant should be kept away from Narmada, said Ramdev before leaving to join the Namami Dev Narmada Yatra, the ambitious state government’s campaign to clean the river.

Baba joined the yatra in Alirajpur district of western MP on the invitation by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The yatra was kicked off by the chief minister 65 days ago from Amarkantak, the place form where the Narmada originates.

Addressing a press conference before leaving for the yatra, Baba said, the cold drink companies have poisoned and polluted water at several places in the country.

“These cold drinks contain no minerals or nutrition to benefit the children or anyone. With the help of glamorous misleading advertisements, these products are being sold. I think cold drink is as harmful as alcohol,” he said.”It’s good if it remains away from Narmada ji, better if it goes out from the country”, he said.

The beverage giant is setting up its plant at Babai village in Hoshangabad district. Located about 8 kms away from the river, the plant is coming up at a newly developed industrial area for water based industries.

When a reporter pointed that illegal sand mining has been polluting Narmada and threatening its very existence, Baba Ramdev said that he had already taken up the issue with chief minister.

“The CM told me that he had been very strict on illegal mining and a massive crackdown has been launched to stop it.”