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Kerala floats special Coca Cola Victims Tribunal Bill


The Kerala government has set up a special tribunal in application of “the polluter pays principle” to enable aggrieved individuals to seek compensation and settle disputes with Coco-Cola after a state committee held the company guilty of causing “reckless” pollution and water depletion in the district of Plachimada.

The bill provides for the constitution of a three-member tribunal and was passed by the state assembly on 24 February, reported Outlook India.

The tribunal would have the power to adjudicate claims from those who have suffered adverse consequence due to the operation of Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in the district.

The tribunal has been armed with the legal authority to record evidence including the summoning of individuals and documents and examining of witnesses with its directives having a legally binding force on the company.

The bill is entitled “The Plachimada Coca Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Tribunal Bill 2011” and was introduced in the state legislature following the findings of a high power committee which held Coca-Cola liable for Rs 216 crore in damages.

“The Committee has come to the conclusion that the Company is responsible for these damages and it is obligatory that they pay the compensation to the affected people for the agricultural losses, health problems, loss of wages, loss of educational opportunities, and the pollution caused to the water resources,” blog Counter Currents reported.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited is a subsidiary of its Atlanta-based parent company.

In a statement the company said: “We are disappointed in the Plachimada Tribunal Bill and the flawed process on which it is based. This Bill is devoid of facts, scientific data or any input from or consideration given to the Company.”

Photo by Kyle May

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