Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Apr 06, 2004
Industry & Economy - Water
Coke offers to supply water at Plachimada
Vipin V. Nair
Kochi , April 5
COCA-COLA, caught in a controversy over its use of groundwater at Plachimda in Palakkad district, has offered to supply drinking water to people around the plant if it is allowed to function.
In its submission to the State Government, Coke has said that it will supply 75,000 to1,00,000 litres of water everyday if it is allowed to draw water and run the plant, industry sources said.
The State Government had asked Coke to stop drawing groundwater till the onset of monsoon, following allegations that it is depleting water resources in the area. This has led to the closure of the plant.
Coke submitted the new proposal after the Kerala High Court held that the company could approach the State Government, seeking a review of the earlier decision.
The Coca-Cola plant uses four lakh litres of water a day. "The company is now willing to distribute a portion of this water to the colonies in the surrounding areas so that any issue of water shortage can be addressed," a source said.
This measure would affect production of the plant as it would not be able to run all its bottling lines with less water. But the company is hopeful that at least the line filling returnable glass bottles can be operated if the Government permits this move.
The cola major has, however, said that other companies functioning in the district should also be asked to distribute water to meet the demand for drinking water in the district, one of the drought-prone areas in the State.
As many as 27 companies, including Pepsi, United Breweries and Kerala Distilleries, have units in Palakkad.
The State Government, however, has not responded to this proposal. Industry sources say that any decision on the plant is likely only after the elections are over since the "issue has now become a political one."
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