Plachimada Activists Seek NHRC Intervention
The Hindu
October 19, 2005

Urge immediate closure of Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages bottling plant

NEW DELHI: Representatives of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee and the Anti Coca-Cola Struggle Committee on Tuesday submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urging the immediate closure of the Plachimada plant of Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Ltd (HCCBPL). Alleging that the pollution and excessive extraction of ground water caused by the HCCBPL bottling plant at Plachimada constituted a clear case of deprivation of the right to safe drinking water and the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, R. Ajayan, convener of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee and Velur Swaminathan, convener of the Anti-Coca Cola Struggle Committee, submitted a petition to the Registrar (Law) NHRC, Ajit Bharihoke, on Tuesday seeking the Commission's intervention in the case.

The petition points out that the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has, in its order dated August 19, 2005, accused the HCCBPL of not divulging the use of cadmium and lead when the sludge generated by the company was 400 to 600 per cent higher than the permissible limit. The petition says that the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes has in its report dated August 14, 2005, indicted the HCCBPL for the "unauthorised disposal of sludge," without the prior approval of government authorities.

The petition asks for the initiation of criminal proceedings against HCCBPL, and for the payment of compensation for the rapid depletion of ground water and the pollution of wells and land in the area. It asks for amendments to the Panchayat Raj laws to bring ground water under the authority of the Gram Panchayat. Mr. Ajayan and Mr. Swaminathan are scheduled to meet the Scheduled Tribe (ST) Commission on Wednesday.

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