Group Urges State to Cancel License of Coca-Cola Bottler
The Hindu
May 10, 2005

TIRUNELVELI: The Joint Action Committee for Conservation of Thamirabarani and Groundwater (JACCTG) has urged the State Government to cancel the licence given to South India Bottling Company Private Limited at SIPCOT Industrial Complex at Gangaikondan near here to produce a range of beverages of a multi-national soft drink major.

The meeting held at Rajapathi village near here on Sunday, with the organiser of the JACCTG, R. Kanagaraj, in chair, discussed "harmful elements and heavy metals" present in the effluents discharged from a similar unit at Plaachchimada in Kerala and diseases caused by the sewage in the nearby villages.

Besides profoundly polluting groundwater and environment, the poorly treated effluents triggered outbreak of several diseases to the public, especially children, the speakers said.

The participants said the unit was forced to stop its operations following spirited agitation by the public and efforts to establish a similar unit at Padamaathur in Sivaganga district was also thwarted by the public.

The meeting passed several resolutions to be sent to the officials concerned.

Since the proposed unit, which would be capable of employing a maximum of 100 persons, would consume five lakh litres of water a day from the Thamirabarani, the lifeline of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts, it would be highly detrimental to farming activities. So, the Government should cancel the licence issued to the company, a resolution said.

Besides creating awareness among the public of the "destructive impact of the effluents from the unit," the meeting vowed to mobilise the people against setting up of the company at Gangaikondan SIPCOT Industrial Estate.

Instead of giving five lakh litres of water to the unit, the white gold from the Thamirabarani could be diverted to irrigation tanks of Maanur, Pallamadai and Gangaikondan to give a fresh lease of life to farm activities in the region, the meeting resolved.

Another resolution decided to collect hundreds of people, particularly from Gangaikondan area, for the seminar to be conducted at Tirunelveli on May 14 by Tamil Nadu Science Forum.

The meeting also decided to extend its fullest cooperation to the two-wheeler rally to be conducted on May 15 by the Life Insurance Corporation of India employees in the villages around Gangaikonda against establishing the unit.

Representatives of various organisations including Communist Party of India (N.M. Krishnan), People's Watch (Ganesan), Manitha Urimai Kalam (M. Bharathan), Tamil Nadu Science Forum (Ponniah), Revolutionary Students' Movement (Prakash), Women Joint Action Group (Subbuthaai) participated in the meeting.

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