Kerala May Notify Plachimada Area
KOCHI: The Kerala government is to soon notify Plachimada
in Palakkad district, where Coca-Cola has set up bottling plant in
protected area, for the conservation and protection of groundwater.
This move puts a question mark on the company's future here.
Top sources in the groundwater authority told FE that the decision
was taken late on Saturday in public interest and water resources
minister Tiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan gave consent to the proposed order,
which was expected to be notified soon in the gazette.
The notification under the Kerala Groundwater Control and Regulation
Act would be based on the recommendation of the authority that it
was necessary to regulate groundwater extraction owing to water scarcity
in the vicinity.
It is learnt that the government was looking at five other areas in
the districts of Thrissur, Palakkad, Kannur, Kozhikode and Thiruvanthapuram
and would take a decision soon.
The order will cripple the prospects of reopening the plant, which
has remained closed since March 2004.
A massive agitation started on April 22, 2002, in front of the company
continues till date.
The anti-coke campaign charged that there was acute water scarcity
in the vicinity, following the drawing of groundwater by the company.
The Perumatty panchayat, where the plant is situated, had earlier
refused to renew the licence of the company and on a petition, a single
bench of the Kerala High Court had in December 2003 ruled against
the company drawing groundwater, leading to the closure of the plant
in March 2004.
This was, however, challenged by the company. A division bench, based
on study had ruled that the company could draw 5 lakh litres of groundwater
However, the panchayat refused to renew the licence, which was challenged
by the company. Presently all these matters are before the Supreme
Meanwhile, things had turned against the company after it was found
that the sludge flushed out by the company had toxic material, which
allegedly polluted the wells in the vicinity.
The Kerala Pollution Control Board also issued orders against the
company as it had failed to meet pollution control norms.
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