The perumatti grama panchayath today refused to renew the licence of
Hindustan Coca cola beverages pvt.ltd at plachimada. The panchayath
decision follows an application moved by coca cola on april 13th last.
The panchayath had cancelled the licence of the company on april 7th
2003 on the plea that it had received complaints from local people that
the drawing of huge quantity of ground water by the company had resulted
in wells drying up, causing acute drinking water scarcity in the area.
But the factory managed to function till march 10, 2004 on the strength
of a government order and the stay from the single bench of the Kerala
High court over ruling the civic bodys decisions. On december 16th 2003
a single bench of the High court directed the coke to stop exploiting
the ground water resources of the panchayath and find alternative water
sources for its production needs. though a division bench set aside the
single bench ruling , the stzte cabinet on 17th 2004 directed the
company to stop the operation in view of the acute drought situation in
palakad district. consiquently the units stoped operation on march 10th
2004 but a divisioin bench of the kerala high court had on april 7th
2005 ordered the panchayath to grand licence to the company if it
submitted an applicaion with in two weeks, provided it had with it the
requesit licence issued under the factory acts and the clearance of the
state pollution control board.
The panchayath president A.Krishnan told Hindu that a meeting of
the panchayath had unanimously decided not to renew the licence of the
cola unit becuse it had not fullfilled the conditions put forward by the
high court. the company inform the Panchyath that it has the licence
issued under the factories act and clearence of the state polution
contol board. But it has not produce the document to the panchayath Mr.
Krishnan said. The division bench order allows the company to extract
upto 5 lakhs liters of ground water a day from the 34 acres premises of
its plants at plachimada during 2005/06. The division bench had said
that"a person has the right to extract water from his property, unless
it is prohibited by a statute" Meanwhile the perumatti panchayath has
filed an appleal in the supreme court against the High Court.