In Court

 
Published: Saturday 15 October 2005

Hunter hunted: One of Cambodia's most infamous wildlife hunters has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for trapping and killing over 600 animals, many endangered. Earlier, much concern had been voiced over the weak laws and lack of their proper enforcement in the country. A forestry law enacted in 2002 tightened the regulations to some extent.

Yor Ngun, 58, killed 19 tigers, 40 leopards, 40 sun bears, 3 Asiatic bears, 30 Asian elephants, and over 500 banteng (a species of wild cattle) since 2001, said conservation group Wild Aid, which works with the government to monitor and prosecute wildlife hunters and traders. Tigers, Asian elephant, and banteng have been classified as endangered species while the Asiatic bear is considered 'vulnerable'. The hunter was detained in 2004 but was released when he promised he won't re-offend; he didn't keep the promise.

Appeal against Coke: The Kerala government recently appealed to the Supreme Court (SC), challenging Coca-Cola company's right to use Plachimada's groundwater. The state government argues that water is being taken from poor communities to produce products for the rich. Its appeal opposes a Kerala High Court (HC) ruling of April 7, 2005, which permitted Coca-Cola to extract 500,000 litres groundwater daily, under normal rainfall conditions. It says the HC ruling violates the local people's right to life, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Coca-Cola's Plachimada bottling plant has remained shut since March 2004 because the Perumatty gram panchayat refused to renew its licence. The gram panchayat has also appealed to the SC against the HC order. Less than a month ago, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board ordered the Plachimada plant to stop production with immediate effect because of high levels of cadmium found near the plant.

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