High Court Orders All Records Related to Coca-Cola Plant in Gangaikondan
Mohamed Imranullah S.
The Hindu
February 16, 2006

Hints at appointing expert panel to study environmental impact

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to produce all original records pertaining to the permission granted by it to the South India Bottling Company, a subsidiary of Hindustan Coca-Cola, for establishing a soft drink manufacturing unit at Gangaikondan panchayat in Tirunelveli district.

Passing interim orders on a public interest litigation against setting up the unit, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice A. Kulasekaran, also directed the company to produce relevant materials to substantiate its claim that the unit had already commenced operations.

Further, the TNPCB, State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) and other authorities were asked to file their individual counter affidavits and the matter was posted to March 13.

Earlier, during arguments, the Bench said that after perusing the documents, it might consider appointing an expert committee headed by an eminent scholar from Anna University in Chennai to inspect the unit and file its independent report on the alleged environmental degradation.

According to the petitioner, R. Krishnan (63) of Palayamkottai, a former MLA attached to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the company had proposed to set up a soft drink manufacturing unit at a cost of Rs.280 million, spread over 31.54 acres in Gangaikondan village. The SIPCOT had agreed to supply nine lakh litres of water per day to the unit at the rate of Rs.15 for every 1000 litres. While it had not been made clear whether the water would be drawn from the ground or the Tamirabarani river close to the unit, either way it would affect the environment, he claimed.

Protest by locals

Even after the local people protested against the move and resorted to various forms of agitation, the TNPCB on March 3, 2005, granted consent for running the unit, though the company itself had applied to the Board only on February 28, 2005.

He alleged that the TNPCB had not followed the mandatory requirements of holding a public enquiry and instead mechanically granted consent.

"It is not a matter only between the applicant and the Board. The public are vitally interested," he added.

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.




Home | About | How to Use this Site | Sitemap | Privacy Policy

India Resource Center (IRC) is a project of Global Resistance -- "Building Global Links for Justice"
URL: http://www.IndiaResource.org Email:IndiaResource (AT) igc.org