Compensation Claims Against Coca-Cola to Move Forward
Government Agrees to Study Details of Compensation Against Coca-Cola
For Immediate Release
October 14, 2008
R. Ajayan, Plachimada Solidarity Committee, India +91 98471 42513
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center, US +1 415 336 7584
San Francisco (October 14, 2008): In a major development in the campaign
against Coca-Cola in India, the Kerala Minister of Water Resources
has agreed to set up a high- ranking committee to look into the compensation
claims being made by the community who have been affected by Coca-Cola's
operations in Plachimada in the state of Kerala in India.
In a meeting held yesterday, the Kerala State Groundwater Authority
agreed that the campaign demands for compensation from the Coca-Cola
company hold merit and should move forward. The Kerala State Groundwater
Authority recommended that the state government of Kerala establish
a high-ranking committee that will look into the practical details
of establishing compensation for community members in Plachimada affected
negatively by Coca-Cola's practices.
The Authority made its decision based on a report it had commissioned
to look into the issue of compensation - after persistent efforts
by the Plachimada Solidarity Committee and the Plachimada Adivasi
Samrakshana Sanghom, two of the primary campaign groups.
The Kerala State Groundwater Authority was set up by the government
of Kerala with the mandate to implement the Kerala Ground Water (Control
and Regulation) Act 2002 - and primarily focus on conservation and
regulation of ground water and control of its use.
The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada has remained shut down
since March 2004 as a result of a formidable community campaign accusing
the bottling plant of creating severe water shortages and pollution
of groundwater and soil. The plant remains shut because it is unable
to obtain permission from the Kerala State Pollution Control Board.
Government and independent studies have confirmed the pollution by
the Coca-Cola company in the area, and the village council (panchayat)
has repeatedly refused to renew Coca-Cola's license, citing growing
water shortages and pollution by the company.
"This is a major move forward in the campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable,"
said R. Ajayan, convener of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee that
has been pushing the compensation demands forward with state officials.
"We must look at the past, present and future damages caused by Coca-Cola's
reckless operations in Plachimada."
In addition to calling for the permanent closure of the Coca-Cola
bottling plant and compensation, the campaign is also demanding that
the Coca-Cola company be held criminally liable for its actions in
The Coca-Cola company is also the target of community campaigns in
other parts in India accusing the company of exacerbating water shortages
and pollution. A Coca-Cola funded study released earlier this year
recommended the closure of another bottling plant - in Kala Dera in
the state of Rajasthan.
Coca-Cola has chosen to ignore the recommendation, choosing to focus
instead on publicizing its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
"We welcome the positive movement on compensation in Kerala. This
should serve as a powerful reminder to the Coca-Cola company and its
shareholders that glamorous ads and wishful thinking are not enough
to hide the crimes they have committed. At the end of the day, they
must pay," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center which
coordinates the International Campaign Against Coca-Cola for its crimes
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
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