THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Adivasi Samrakshna Sanghom and the Plachimada Struggle Solidarity Council have expressed strong protest against Principal Secretary (Industries & Commerce) T. Balakrishnan's statement that he regretted closure of the Coca-Cola unit at Plachimada.
In a joint statement here on Monday, leaders of the two organisations said the Industries Secretary's statement could not be considered accidental as it had come at a time when the government was considering the K. Jayakumar Committee recommendations relating to payment of compensation for the ecological and economic damage caused by the Coca-Cola unit in the area.
Sanghom convener Velur Swaminathan and Council convener R. Ajayan alleged that Mr. Balakrishnan's statement clearly showed his commitment to the Coca-Cola company. As Industries Secretary, he had taken the initiative to relocate the Coca-Cola plant when the anti-Coke agitation was at its height. Since the Jayakumar Committee was appointed by the government to study the damage caused by the soft drink company and recommend compensation, Industries Minister Elamaram Karim should clarify the government stand on the Secretary's statement. The government should not allow its stand on the Plachimada issue to be influenced by the official's stand, they said.
Staff Reporter writes from Palakkad: Pepsi Virudha Samara Samithy (Anti-Pepsi Agitation Committee) general convener K.P. Suresh Raj urged the government to take action against Mr. Balakrishnan for his statement.
In a statement here, Mr. Suresh Raj said the stand of the official was totally against the declared policies of the LDF government. Mr. Suresh Raj said the official made the statement in the presence of Industries Minister Elamaram Karim. The government should remove the official from the charge of Industries, he said.