Staff Reporter

Panchayat imposes 17 conditions

Conditions Do not draw groundwater in panchayat limitsClear doubts about findings of committee Disclose ingredients of soft drinks producedGet statutory licence from pollution panel

PALAKKAD: The Perumatty grama panchayat on Wednesday issued a fresh licence to Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverage Private Limited's bottling unit at Plachimada for three months, imposing 17 conditions, to comply with a High Court order.

A Division Bench of the Court in an order on November 16, 2005 had directed the local body to issue licence to the soft drink major before January 6, 2006 if it applied for a fresh licence. And the company put up a fresh application for licence last month.

The first condition is that the company should not draw groundwater from the Perumatty panchayat limits. The second is that it should clear doubts among the local people about the findings of the Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court, which, in its report on Plachimada, has said that cadmium is found in the drinks and that there is change of taste for the groundwater drawn in the area. The company has to find out the reasons for these and take remedial measures. (The panchayat had earlier issued orders prohibiting the exploitation of groundwater in the area for industrial purposes.)

The conditions include disclosure of the ingredients of the drinks made in the unit, explanations for the finding of dangerous materials such as cadmium in the drinks and statutory licence from agencies such as the State Pollution Control Board. The company has to meet all the conditions within 15 days. If the company fails to meet them, the licence will be cancelled.

The company had earlier applied for renewing the licence for two years, which the panchayat rejected twice. The panchayat on June 14, 2005 had issued a licence for three months imposing 13 conditions and the company went in appeal against it.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the Government has proposed the shifting of the plant to some other location in the district.

More In: Today's Paper