Coca-Cola asked to pay Rs 216 crore

Kerala gets tough with soft drink company for polluting Plachimada

 
By Aromal Narendran
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageCoca-cola has been asked to pay Rs 216.26 crore against damages caused by its cola bottling plant at Plachimada. On March 22, a high powered committee of the Kerala government recomended the cola giant should compensate people for polluting their water resources.

The sum is meant to compensate for agricultural losses, health problems and loss of wages, among other things (see box).

The amount is a modest estimation and does not include the value of water extracted though it needs to be compensated, said additional chief secretary K Jayakumar, who headed the committee (see ‘Water is given free’). N K Prema-chandran, minister for water resources, promised prompt action. The cola bottling plant in Palakkad district was closed in March 2004 following a high court order and loud protests by Plachimada residents.

The Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited factory, located in a drought-prone area, was drawing 500,000 litres water a day from six borewells and two open wells without a licence from the panchayat for installing motor for drawing water. “This excessive depletion of the groundwater has upset the natural balance of the area and has affected availability of water,” the committee noted in its report.

The factory also dumped its toxic waste all around, including the paddy fields. “It had impressed upon the farmers that it was good manure.

coca-cola has been asked to pay Rs 216.26 crore against damages caused by its cola bottling plant at Plachimada. On March 22, a high powered committee of the Kerala government recomended the cola giant should compensate people for polluting their water resources.

The sum is meant to compensate for agricultural losses, health problems and loss of wages, among other things (see box). The amount is a modest estimation and does not include the value of water extracted though it needs to be compensated, said additional chief secretary K Jayakumar, who headed the committee (see ‘Water is given free’). N K Prema-chandran, minister for water resources, promised prompt action.

The cola bottling plant in Palakkad district was closed in March 2004 following a high court order and loud protests by Plachimada residents. The Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited factory, located in a drought-prone area, was drawing 500,000 litres water a day from six borewells and two open wells without a licence from the panchayat for installing motor for drawing water.

“This excessive depletion of the groundwater has upset the natural balance of the area and has affected availability of water,” the committee noted in its report.

The factory also dumped its toxic waste all around, including the paddy fields. “It had impressed upon the farmers that it was good manure.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.