Kerala brings in bill to realise compensation from Coke

Written by: Pti
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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 22 (PTI) The CPI(M)-led LDFgovernment in Kerala today introduced a bill in the Assemblyfor setting up a special tribunal to realise compensation fromsoftdrink major Coca Cola for the ''losses'' its plant atPlachimada village caused to the people in the area.

The bill was introduced following recommendations of aHigh Power Committee which found that losses worth Rs 216.16crore had been caused by the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages PvtLtd''s plant in Palakkad district.

The bill, piloted by Water Resources Minister N KPremachandran, said the functioning of the plant had causedenvironmental and soil degradation and water contamination dueto over-extraction of ground water.

Functioning of the plant had led to scarcity of drinkingwater and decline in agricultural produce caused by disposalof sludge containing metals like cadmium, lead and chromium,the bill said.

It said the sludge disposal also affected the health ofpeople causing skin ailments, breathing problems and otherdebilities.

The special tribunal was intended to settle all disputesrelating to problems caused by the plant within a fixed timelimit.

The Plachimada plant has been virtually dysfunctional forthe last several years following prolonged agitations byresistance groups including tribals and legal battles againstextraction of ground water by the company.

The government had banned production and sale of the colabut it was lifted later following a High court order.

The bill, titled ''Plachimada Coca Cola Victims'' Reliefand Compensation Claims Special Tribunal - 2011'', was earlierreferred to the Subject Committee.

The legislation envisaged creation of a three-membertribunal including a Chairperson, an administrative member andan expert member.

The bill is expected be returned to the House by theSubject Committee in two days and adopted by the Assembly asit was introduced after a consensus was reached between thegovernment and the Opposition.

This is the final session of the present Assembly aselections are expected to be declared shortly and as per theschedule, the sitting is to conclude on February 24.

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