Shops Down Shutters to Protest Proposed Coca-Cola Plant
Times News Network
March 6, 2015

ERODE: Normal life in Perundurai and surrounding villages went for a toss after traders downed their shutters to protest against the proposal to set up a Coca-Cola manufacturing unit in the area. More than 18,000 shops in Perundurai and Chennimalai areas remained closed on Thursday in protest.

President of Perundurai Environmental Protection Trust (PEPT), V M Kandasamy, who led the protest said they would intensify their protest if the plant was installed in the area.

"The ground water in the district, especially in Perundurai, would be depleted if the company starts its operations here in Sipcot near Perundurai," he said. The Bhavani River is already polluted with chemical effluents. If the company set up shop here, the river would be completely polluted, he added.

PEPT had invited all political parties, NGOs, environmental organizations, traders' associations, hotel owners' associations and farmers' associations to participate in the one day protest in Perundurai and Chennimalai areas. Most of the associations and political parties extended their support to the protest. More than 8,000 shops in Perundurai and 10,000 shops in Chennimalai and surrounding villages including Kanjikoil, Pethampalayam, Nallampatty, Vijayamangalam and Engur, remained closed, Kandasamy said.

Meanwhile, officials from the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCBPL) said they had no plans to extract ground water to operate the plant to be set up in Perundurai.

On behalf of HCCBPL, vice president of public affairs and communications, Kalyan Ranjan, stated in a press release that they have proposed to set up a state-of-the-art Greenfield manufacturing facility at Sipcot. "We will take water only from Sipcot to meet the industrial water requirements. No treated waste water shall be discharged outside the plant premises and the excess water shall be utilized for irrigation within the premises," he said.

He said HCCBPL had clarified all doubts raised during the stakeholder meeting convened by the district administration on December 11, 2014.

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