Health Minister: 'Coke plant will not be allowed to function'
PALAKKAD: Health Minister K.K. Ramachandran on Monday said the Government
"would not allow the bottling plant of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages
Pvt. Ltd. at Plachimada to reopen against the will of the people."
(Mr. Ramachandran is the first Minister to have visited Plachimada
where the local people have been waging an agitation for the last
three years demanding the closure of the company for allegedly exploiting
the groundwater, leading to shortage of water for drinking and irrigation
In an official press release, the Minister said "the Government will
stand by the people in whichever court the company goes. The right
over water and air is the right to live. The Government will not allow
stopping of these two lifeline of the people."
The Minister also held a discussion with officials of the Kerala State
Pollution Control Board on issues concerning the Coca-Cola plant.
S.D. Jayaprasad, member-secretary of the Board, said the company had
not implemented the direction of the Board to set up a water treatment
plant to treat wastewater. He said in August 2004, the Board had examined
the waste from the effluent treatment plant of the company and the
water in the nearby panchayat wells. The pollution from the treatment
plant was much above the permissible limit of .01 mg. In the water
from the wells, the presence of cadmium fell to .007 mg after the
Coca-Cola plant was closed down in 2003.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages said in
a statement here on Monday said that its plant at Plachimada "adhered
to all conditions and requirements put by the Kerala State Pollution
Control Board as well as the global environment policy of the Coca-Cola
company. The plant is also certified under the internationally recognised
environment manager system ISO 14001.
"The Plachimada plant's final discharge fully meets the standards
prescribed by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board. The Board
has allowed the company to install any appropriate technology for
effluent treatment and the company is fully committed to continue
meeting the final discharge standards prescribed by the Board.
The allegations and concerns raised by a few people against the Coca-Cola
plant's operation are not substantiated by any scientific evidence
and have already been thoroughly examined by various independent authorities,
scientific institutions and the Kerala High Court, which found no
merit in any of the claims against the company, the statement said.
The company spokesman said the Health Minister had declined a request
to visit the plant during his visit to Plachimada on Monday.
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.