Was Coca Cola’s Pulling Out of Tamil Nadu a Face-saving Tactic?

Coke blames Tamil Nadu government for delays after its permission to set up a plant got cancelled.

2 min read
(Photo: Reuters)

Simultaneous to the Tamil Nadu government cancelling its permission to Coke to set up a manufacturing plant under the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) at Perundurai, Coco Cola – in what comes across as a fave-saving tactic – declared that it would not be able to invest in SIPCOT due to “unforseen pressures and delays”.

Hindustan Coca Cola Bevegares Pvt Ltd (HCCBPL) in an official statement claimed that while it had taken all steps to begin construction of the plant, the project had been delayed due to pending approvals from SIPCOT.

Soon after their permission got cancelled, HCCBPL in a statement described the hindrances that they had faced.

Without these, we are unable to apply for ‘Consent to Establish’ and start construction work on the site. Despite sending repeated reminders to SIPCOT there has been no progress. These inordinate delays, coupled with local activism against the project, could not have been foreseen nor prevented by us. Despite best efforts to address concerns, we could not commence construction and the project cannot be executed. We have requested State Government to refund entire money paid so far.
– HCCBPL Statement

Protests Against Coke

After the allocation of land to the company, both farmers and locals living in the area had begun protesting against the plant arguing that such a construction would cause groundwater depletion.

In March, around 3,500 shops remained closed in agreement with a one-day strike called by all opposition political parties in the state against the proposed plant in the area.

It was after renewed protests that the company clarified that all its water needs would be met by SIPCOT in the area without any effect on the ground water level. The VP, Public Affairs and Communication, HCCBPL also said that the treated waste water would be reused on the plant premises along with usage of excess water for onland irrigation, according to PTI.

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