More reports on: Foods / beverages, Environment

TN cancels land allotment for Coca Cola as locals object

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21 April 2015

The Tamil Nadu government has cancelled the allotment of 71.34 acres of land for multinational Coca Cola's project in Erode district in the wake of persistent protests by locals, agriculturists and political parties.

A PTI report quoting a top state government official said the government had cited `non-compliance' of terms and conditions by the company as the reason for cancellation of land allotment.

State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOT) said it had a few days ago sent a notice to the company for non-compliance of terms and conditions for commencing the project.

For one thing, the official said, ''they had not done feasibility study before and now they claim that the project is not feasible.''

Coca Cola said it had already written to the state government stating that it will not be able to invest in SIPCOT in Perundurai ''due to unforeseen pressures and delays.''

''Despite best efforts to address concerns, we could not commence construction and the project cannot be executed. We have requested the state government to refund the entire money paid so far,'' Coca Cola said.

However, the company release said: ''Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCBPL) is committed to invest in the state of Tamil Nadu and looks forward to invest in the state.''

The 21 June 2013 allotment order had earmarked 71.34 acres in SIPCOT's premises in Perundurai in Erode District, about 400 km from Chennai. Coca Cola was expected to commence construction of the plant within six months from the date of allotment. ''However, they did not do so.''

However, Coca Cola had not received environmental clearance for the proposed project and that only land had been given for it.

The state government's move comes following stiff opposition to the project from several quarters, including political parties, farmers and the local people.

Locals had first expressed apprehension that the unit could cause rapid groundwater depletion and pollution of River Bhavani if the plant was allowed to come up.

Soon, environment NGOs and traders in Perundurai and Chennimalai regions of Erode District took up the matter.

CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan demanded that the state withdraw its nod to the firm to start its unit.

Opposing the plant, TNCC President E V K S Elangovan said local people and farmers would be affected by the project.

Coca Cola said it would not use groundwater and not let waste water come out of the plant premises, a promise unlikely to be kept.





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