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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Plachimada report fails to reach Cabinet

C. Gouridasan Nair

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The report of a high-power committee on the ecological damage caused by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Company at Plachimada in Palakkad district has yet again failed to return to the Cabinet, reportedly on account of lack of consensus in the government on the action to be taken on it.

Report

The report, prepared by the 14-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar, was submitted to the government on March 22 and has been pending consideration by the Cabinet ever since. The report was vetted by the Law Department and cleared, but met with objections from the Industries Department and could not, therefore, be placed before the Cabinet.

Following reports in The Hindu about the delay in the report being returned to the Cabinet for its consideration, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had directed the Water Resources Department almost a fortnight ago to look into the matter and ensure that the report was placed in the very next meeting of the Cabinet. However, according to highly placed sources in the government, this has not happened so far for want of consensus on the course of action to be followed on the recommendations of the high-power committee.

Violation of laws

The committee had found serious violation of several laws by the company and estimated the damage caused by it to be in the region of Rs.216 crore.

It had recommended constitution of a tribunal by the State government under Article 323 B of the Constitution or an authority by the Central government under the Environment (Protection) Act to decide the compensation amount and ensure its realization. The Water Resources Department had accepted the report.

It had also placed it before the Cabinet for a decision on whether to go in for a tribunal at the State level or an authority at the Central level on the lines of the one constituted in Tamil Nadu to handle issues arising from the operation of tanneries and other polluting industries.

The department had favoured constitution of a tribunal so that the State would have full authority in its constitution and further measures.

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