Activists Occupy Coca-Cola Factory In Kerala
17 December, 2011
New Delhi, December 17 : About twenty two members of Plachimada Coca-Cola Virudha Samara Samithi and Plachimada solidarity forum including Vilayodi Venugopal, Sri N. P. Johnson, N Subramanyan, Fr. Augustine, M N Giri, Sahadevan and ors, walked in to the premises of the Coca Cola Factory in Kerala state, India and courted arrest. When produced the Magistrate ordered their release on furnishing personal bond but activists refused to take bail in protest against apathy on the part of state government and the delaying and subverting tactics in favour of Coca Cola. NAPM hails the action of these activists and salutes their courage for choosing to do this to bring home the dire need for quick passage of the ‘Plachimada Coca-Cola Victims’ Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill, 2011.
It needs to be noted that based on the report submitted by Plachimada High Power Committee appointed by Goverment of Kerala, ‘Plachimada Coca-Cola Victims’ Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill, 2011’ was passed by the Assembly on 24 February 2011. The Bill sent by the Governor of Kerala to the President via the central Ministry of Home Affairs on 30 March, and the Home Ministry in turn has sent it to various related ministries for their comments on 17 April. They were then supposed to forward the Bill to the President with the consolidated comments.
The decision to send the Bill to the President was taken by the State Law Department, although there was no issue of repugnance and hence there was no need for Presidential assent. There is no question of repugnance as the law deals, in its operative part, with entirely state subjects, namely, losses in agriculture, health care, animal husbandry, job loss and groundwater contamination.
Very recently, the Union government has referred the Bill back to State government but till date State Law Ministry has not done anything on this. We fail to understand this delay, when in the State as well as at the Centre Indian National Congress Party is in power in coalition. Is this delay part of a larger design ? Is the government trying to serve the interests of the Coca Cola Corporation ? It is extremely shameful that the governments at the State and Centre are neglecting the demands of the suffering communities and the elected Gram Sabha. We all know that continuous Satyagraha has been going on since earth day in 2002, which has now completed almost a decade. How long are they expected to wait ?
Amidst all this Kerala government is planning to give distribution rights to Coco - Cola for providing drinking water to government hospitals in Kerala. Union Minister of State for Food Sri K.V. Thomas declared that months back. It was after sustained people's movements and pressure from the groups across the country which forced the government to enact this special tribunal Bill. It is high time government brought this enactment to force and justice is done to the suffering communities and Coke is held responsible for their Corporate Crimes and made to pay for this. Our struggle to hold the corporations accountable will continue until justice is done to the people.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Gabriele Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Geo Josh, Hussain master, Gabriele Dietrich, Suniti S R, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vimal Bhai, Madhuresh Kumar
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