Three Workers Killed In Coca-Cola Factory Explosion in India

Police Arrest Three Coca-Cola India Officials

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2010

San Francisco: Three workers were killed and at least five others seriously injured at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Khurda in the state of Orissa in India on Friday.

The workers were engaged in the maintenance of a boiler in the factory which exploded.

Company officials in charge of the boiler operations were out to lunch when the explosion occurred, according to reports from local media and groups in the area.

Local groups have also reported that the boiler was “old” and that a new boiler was undergoing tests before it was to replace the boiler.

The bottling plant is operated by the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Atlanta based Coca-Cola company.

The workers killed were contract workers and not permanent employees of Coca-Cola India.

In the summer months, when production is at its peak, Coca-Cola India hires nearly three times as many contract workers as employees.

Contract workers receive the minimum daily wage of the state and minimal benefits. In the state of Orissa, the minimum wage per day ranges from Rupees 90 ($1.90) for unskilled labor to Rupees 129 ($2.75) for highly skilled labor.

The workers killed by the explosion were identified as Ranjit Mohanty, Madhusudan Behera and Bana Behari Behera. Injured workers were identified as Ramesh Mohanty, Dandua Behera, Rabindra Mati, Satya Narayan Mohanty and Pradip Mohanty.

The police have arrested three officials from the Coca-Cola bottling plant who were in charge of the maintenance operations, according to media reports. Company officials had requested police protection after the explosion, according to local reports.

The state government has initiated an investigation into the cause of the explosion and additional police have been ordered into the area to protect the factory and its officials.

For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org

Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +1 415 336 7584 E: info@IndiaResource.org


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