A fourteen-member expert committee appointed by the Kerala government to assess damages caused by the Coca-Cola’s Plachimada plant at Palakkad in Kerala has recommended that the cola giant pay Rs 216 crore as compensation.
The committee, headed by state’s Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar submitted its report to Water Resources Minister NK Premachandran.
The report recommended that the state government set up a tribunal to take the legal process further as it would not be possible for the affected people near the plant at Plachimada to individually fight the legal battle. It also held that Coca-Cola’s plant at Palakkad had inflicted harm to farming and environment by dumping solid waste apart and by heavy withdrawal of ground water. The committee noted that in passing the sludge as manure it not only misguided farmers but also led to soil degradation and contamination of water.
Coca-Cola took strong objection to the panel’s recommendations. “It is unfortunate that the committee was appointed on the unproven assumption that damage was caused, and that it was caused by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages,” the company said in a statement.