Village Council Grants 'Probationary' License to Coca-Cola, With Conditions
The Hindu
June 7, 2005

PALAKKAD: The Perumatty grama panchayat, at its meeting here on Monday, issued a three-month licence to the Coca-Cola bottling unit at Plachimada, placing 13 conditionalities. The licence was given to the unit in compliance with the order of a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on June 1.

The licence has been issued under the condition that the company should produce a fresh clearance certificate as required under the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) rule, 1989 before August 1.

Also, the company would not be permitted to bring water from outside or store it without obtaining the requisite licence under the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act or Rules framed thereunder and it should inform the panchayat about the drawal and use of the quantity of water fixed by the High Court.

The High Court had allowed the company to draw five lakh litres a day, of which one lakh should be made available for distribution to the public. The company requires at least 15 lakh litres of water a day for its viable functioning.

Yet another condition imposed by the panchayat is that "the company shall submit a detailed plan regarding the social security schemes ordered to be implemented by the High Court and intimate the same to the panchayat within a period of one month from Monday."

Any violation of these 13 conditions "will entail cancellation of licence issued subject to the order of the Supreme Court, which had already been approached by the panchayat."

The court had ordered that if the licence was not issued within the prescribed time, it should be deemed that the company possessed the licence and that it would be free to function with effect from June 10 for two years, subject to the restriction laid down in the Bench's earlier judgment. The panchayat order said that "it has received legal advice to comply with the order of the High Court first and then move the Supreme Court to protect and safeguard the rights and obligations of the panchayat under the Constitution of India and provisions of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act."

Meanwhile, the panchayat has set up a defence committee to mobilise funds to fight the case in the Supreme Court.

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