TAMIL NADU

Coca-Cola's plea for two-year licence rejected

Panchayat returns licence fee along with the application

Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: A meeting of the Perumatty grama panchayat on Monday rejected Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited's the second application for two-year licence for its Plachimada plant.

Technically, the company now has no licence for the plant as it did not accept the three-month conditional licence issued by the panchayat earlier nor had it paid the fee for licence.

The company, in a letter to the panchayat on June 8, said that the grant of licence for three months "is arbitrary and in total violation and disrespect to the Honourable High Court Order passed on 7th April, 2005 and as further clarified on 1st June, 2005."

The panchayat issued a three-month licence, imposing 13 conditions, on June 6, on a direction from the Kerala High Court to issue licence to the Coca-Cola bottling unit.

The panchayat had also directed the company to remit Rs.7,500 as licence fee for three months.

But the company did not accept that order.

The company submitted a second application with a licence fee of Rs.61,000 on June 8 for a two-year licence, which was rejected on Monday. The panchayat also returned the amount remitted as licence fee along with the application.

Thus the company has no licence at present though the High Court in its order on April 7, 2005, and as further clarified on June 1 directed to issue licence before June 10.

The panchayat in its unanimous decision on Monday said that "the committee (the panchayat) met and considered the legality, propriety of application from Coca-Cola (on June 8, 2005) and (was) convinced that the panchayat on the order of the High Court of Kerala has granted to the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited a licence even without an application for a period of three months subject to certain conditions and without prejudice to the rights of the panchayat to go on appeal before the Supreme Court."

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