Long wait for Plachimada victims

Compensation panel illegal

By Savvy Soumya Misra
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- people living in Plachimada area of Keralas Palakkad district will have to wait longer for compensation from the soft drink company, Coca-Cola.

The committee set up by the state to assess socio-economic damage caused by the beverage company, accused of drying the groundwater in Plachimada, extended the deadline for submitting its report to December.

The panel, headed by additional principal secretary, K Jayakumar, was supposed to submit its report in September. Jayakumar called a public hearing on October 9 where he assured that affected households will be surveyed in the next few weeks to decide on the compensation. The committee has received petitions for compensation from 600 families, so far.

The beverage company said the committee is illegal.

Environmental activist and a member of the committee, S Faizi, said the company sent a letter to the committee saying its decision would not be binding on the company.

R Ajayan, the convenor, of the peoples forum, Plachimada Solidarity Committee, demanded a statutory body should be formed if the state really wanted to help people. He demanded registration of a criminal case against Coca-Cola.

The plant was operational between 1999 and 2004 and was shut down following protests by villagers.

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