The Kerala cabinet has decided to establish a tribunal for awarding compensation to people affected by a production plant of Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCB) at Plachimada in Palakkad district.
The cabinet has approved the report submitted by a high powered committee (HPC), headed by K Jayakumar, additional chief secretary. The HPC had recommended that a compensation to the tune of Rs 216.25 crore should be provided to the affected individuals, mainly farmers. The government has rejected a note that was critical of the recommendations of the HPC, submitted by T Balakrishnan, principal secretary of Industries department.
Meanwhile, HCCB disagreed with the recommendations of the HPC and the proposed follow-up action by the state government. It said in a statement that the committee was set up with the pre-determined and unproven conclusion that the operations of HCCB had caused loss to the residents of Plachimada. “This is in spite of the fact that numerous scientific studies by independent experts and investigations by the Government of Kerala itself have shown that HCCB is not the cause of local watershed issues.”
The company spokesperson said any government committee or panel reviewing claims should determine through scientific study and through established process of law whether any damage was caused to the residents of Plachimada and if such damage was caused, it should also determine who was responsible.
It is learnt that the company would not co-operate with the process of providing compensation and is likely to challenge the government's decision before the court.