The Plachimada Struggle Solidarity Committee, which through its long drawn struggle saw to the closure of the Coca-Cola factory in Palakkad district in 2004, is getting ready for another battle with the multi-American beverages giant.
It was in 2000, that the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCBPL), Coca-Cola’s Indian subsidiary, set up a plant that manufactured soft drinks in the Plachimada village near Palakkad.
But, following massive protests it closed down its operations in 2004. The present uprising is after the Committee came to know that the company has informed the Kerala government that they are ready to hand over the land and properties at Plachimada for free.
Consequent to this offer, the state revenue officers have listed out that there was a 34.50 acre land which houses about 35,000 sq ft building and the company will hand over it to cash-strapped Kerala government for free.
The state government is planning to convert this place into a unit for the good of the local farming committee by setting up the basic facilities.
The protesters, however, allege that this is a ploy of the company to hand over the land for free and escape from paying compensation to the local people who suffered on various counts after the factory was set up.
“For a while there has been a conspiracy going around in which some politicians are involved to help the company run away without paying the compensation to the people here who lost everything. We will not allow the company to escape on the sly,” said the protesters.