April 9th, 2005

Court Ruling in India Does Not Allow Re-Opening of Coca-Cola Plant

From: Amit Srivastava <a...@indiaresource.org>
Subject: Some points on Plachimada news
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2005 10:06:57 -0700


I just wanted to clarify something as relates to the current news being reported by media and some NGO's that the High Court of Kerala has allowed Coca-Cola to begin operations at Plachimada.

This is NOT TRUE, and we must ensure that the facts are promoted. We cannot afford to have another round of misinformation going around.

1. The High Court has ruled that Coca-Cola can extract up to 500,000 (5 lakhs) liters of water per day. This does not mean that Coca-Cola has been allowed to resume operations.

2. The High Court has ruled that the Perumatty panchayat (which denied Coke the license) HAS 15 DAYS to reconsider the application. This means that Coca-Cola has to APPLY AGAIN to the Perumatty panchayat for a license to operate.

3. The Perumatty panchayat has made a statement that they will be APPEALING the latest High Court ruling to the Supreme Court. This means that it is very possible that the Supreme Court will now have to hear the
argument before Coca-Cola is allowed to do anything

4. The Coca-Cola Virudh Sangarsh Samiti and the Plachimada Solidarity Committee have issued a statement that they will intensify the community struggle against Coca-Cola, and they are asking the state government
to file an appeal.

5. It is important to note the BOTH the lawyers for the KERALA STATE GOVT and the Perumatty panchayat were arguing before the court that the report (which recommended 5 lakh liters per day) was INADEQUATE, and that
Coca-Cola should not be allowed to draw even that much water. This is significant because the state government's position was the same as the panchayat's.

Please emphasize the above points when speaking with the media and allies.

The initial High Court ruling, on December 16, 2003, was very well written and it proclaimed that even if it was assumed that Coca-Cola could extract water safely, it should not be allowed to do so because "the underground water belongs to the general public and the 2nd respondent [Coca-Cola] has no right to claim a huge share of it and the Government have no power to allow a private party to extract such a huge quantity of ground water, which is a property, held by it in trust."


Coca-Cola to Hold Talks with Village Council, Community in Plachimada

The Hindu
April 9, 2005

PALAKKAD: Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited will hold discussions with the panchayat and local community before taking a decision on reopening the company in the wake of the Kerala High Court order allowing it to draw five lakh litres of ground water daily.

The company spokesman, Vikas Kochar, told The Hindu that the company would take the next step only after holding discussions with the people of the area and studying the High Court judgment in detail.
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