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

Coca-Cola unit: Govt. to wait for Central lab reports

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Aug. 20. The Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, has said that the Government would take a decision on the controversies regarding the Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada in Palakkad district only after receiving the reports from the two Central laboratories to which samples of the soft drink had been sent for examination.

Replying to questions after the weekly Cabinet meeting here today, the Chief Minister said the Government was of the view that the findings of the Health Department and the Kerala State Pollution Control Board were not enough to arrive at a decision in the matter.

Asked whether the Government would ask the company to stop production till the examination reports were received, Mr. Antony pointed out that no other State had taken recourse to such a measure. No Government could take a decision in such matters without studying the issues properly and getting conclusive information on all controversial issues. The Government would not hesitate to initiate stern action if any hazardous substance was found in the soft drink, he added.

Asked about the charge that the company was exhausting the groundwater resources in the area, Mr. Antony said it was a different matter and should be studied by other agencies. He said the Government had not received the report on the hearing conducted to decide whether the company's licence should be extended.

Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said the Cabinet had not taken any decision on the Education Department's proposal that about 3,000 teachers of private aided schools, appointed after October 29, 2001, be confirmed in service. The matter was still pending before the Cabinet, he said.

On the continuing impasse at Marad, where rehabilitation was yet to take place, Mr. Antony said several options were under discussion and he was spending most of his time trying to resolve the issue. After refusing to see eye to eye for over two months, the two sides had at last agreed to sit around a table and discuss the related issues. The initiative for this was taken by the Kozhikode Press Club and they deserved all praise for the good work they had done, he said.

On the controversy surrounding the shifting of the Gandhi statue at the Gandhi Park in the capital, the Chief Minister said he had asked the Tourism Minister, K.V. Thomas, and the Tourism Secretary, T. Balakrishnan, to look into the matter.

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