“It's government's duty to make company pay for environmental damage”

The Kerala Assembly on Tuesday referred to its Subject Committee a bill seeking to set up a special tribunal to hear claims against the Plachimada bottling plant of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited.

The bill, titled the Plachimada Coca-Cola Victims' Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill, 2011, will return to the House for the final stage of legislation on Wednesday after the Subject Committee's scrutiny.

Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran, who presented the Bill in the House, described it as a milestone in the legislative history of the State. The government was fulfilling its duty to put in place the legal mechanism to make the Coca-Cola company pay for the environmental damage it had caused in Palakkad district's Plachimada village, he said.

The company had set up its bottling plant in 2000.