It is fizz minus Coca Cola for Perundurai

State government cancels land allotment for Coca Cola
Chennai: After news broke that state government had issued a showcause notice, cancelling the land agreement orders given to the beverages major Coca Cola, local villagers and farmers in Perundurai near Erode erupted in joy. Members of the anti-Coca Cola drive went gaga over the development, shared sweets and burst crackers. The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam which has also been campaigning against the project, welcomed the state government decision.
“We are enthralled and are cancelling our proposed protest condemning Coca Cola and the land acquisition bill. CPI(M) MLA K. Balakrishnan had also raised the issue in the assembly protesting against Coca Cola, and in future, government should not encourage projects that will affect the livelihood of farmers,” said P. Shanmugham, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam. “We were against the cola company setting up a factory here and there was news that the company would deplete our ground water, but now we feel relaxed with the government order,” said M. Govindarajan, a farmer in Erode.
Meanwhile official sources with the Small Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu confirmed that there were instances of the aerated drink manufacturer violating the agreements that it entered with Sipcot. About 71.3 acres has been allotted by Sipcot to the cola company and till date, the land has not been put to use and they are yet to start construction. There are contradictions about the plant installation and its water consumption and disposal and hence the notice served, requesting the company to hand over the land, Sipcot sources said.
Give us back our money, says Coca Cola
Despite sending repeated reminders to Sipcot there has been no progress and the inordinate delay coupled with local activism against the project has forced us to move away from Perundurai, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCBPL) said in a statement on Tuesday. A statement from the cola company said that despite best efforts to address the concerns, the company could not commence construction and the project cannot be executed.
The statement further said that the company has requested state government to refund the entire money paid so far. HCCBPL was allotted a parcel of land by Sipcot to set up a green-field state-of-the art bottling plant at a proposed investment of Rs 500 crore in 2014. The company took all steps to start construction on the allotted land. However, the project was delayed due to unanticipated outside pressures.
In spite of repeated follow-ups, the following pre-requisite approvals, permissions were awaited which includes draft copy of the ‘Water Agreement’ to procure water from the new Tirupur area development corporation, laying of a water line from the Sipcot entrance to our allotted site and for this, payment has already been made.
Approval for laying an effluent transfer line was also pending, the statement added. Meanwhile HCCBPL sources said that the company has clarified to the state that it is committed to invest in the state of Tamil Nadu and looks forward to do so. The company has so far spent more than '23 crore for various infrastructure and permissions and is looking for reimbursement.
( Source : dc correspondent )
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