Coca-Cola to Hold Talks with Village Council, Community in Plachimada
April 9, 2005
PALAKKAD: Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited will hold
discussions with the panchayat and local community before taking a decision
on reopening the company in the wake of the Kerala High Court order
allowing it to draw five lakh litres of ground water daily.
The company spokesman, Vikas Kochar, told The Hindu that the company would
take the next step only after holding discussions with the people of the
area and studying the High Court judgment in detail.
To move apex court
Meanwhile, the president of the Perumatty grama panchayat, A. Krishnan,
said that the panchayat would move the Supreme Court against the High Court
order. He said that fighting a case was a big financial burden for the
panchayat, which has only meagre resources. The panchayat would, therefore,
seek the help of other organisations to move the Supreme Court.
The Janata Dal secretary general, K. Krishnakutty, said that his party
would help the tribals and the local community, who are spearheading the
He said that the High Court order had taken away the right of the panchayat
to issue licence. This right of the local self-government was conferred
through the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution. So both the Central and
State Governments should go in for appeal against the High Court order to
restore the right given to the panchayats under the Panchayat Raj system.
The panchayats were given the right over their natural resources like
groundwater. But the High Court order has nullified this right of the
panchayat. Hence in the interest of protecting the rights of the
panchayats, the Governments should challenge the verdict, Mr. Krishnankutty
The Coca-Cola Virudha Samara Samithy leader, Velayodi Venugopal, said that
they would intensify the agitation and prevent the company from functioning.
He wanted the State Government and the Perumatty panchayat to go in for
appeal against the High Court order.
The Plachimada Solidarity Committee convener, R. Ajayan, said that a
meeting of various organisations supporting the agitation would be convened
soon to chalk out the next course of action.
The tribals and Dalit community members who are spearheading the agitation
in front of the factory at Plachimada took out a demonstration today urging
the Government and the panchayat to challenge the High Court order. In
Palakkad town, the activists of the Solidarity Youth Movement took out a
march urging the judiciary to reconsider the verdict.
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