Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Assembly on Thursday passed a bill to set up a special tribunal to obtain compensation from Coca Cola for the "losses" its plant at Plachimada caused to the residents.

Reacting to the development, the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Ltd (HCCB) said the legislation was not based on scientific data or established processes of law. He added that the company was still ready to engage with the stake-holders on the issue.

The CPI(M)-led LDF government rushed through the bill on the final day of the present Assembly while the House was in uproar with Congress-led UDF opposition pressing for an
adjournment on a different issue.

The bill was based on the recommendations of a high power committee which found that a loss of Rs 216.16 crore had been caused by the plant of the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages at Plachimada village in Palakkad district.

The bill, titled "The Plachimada Coca Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Tribunal Bill 2011," said the plant had caused environmental and soil degradation and water contamination.

It said the sludge disposal also affected health of people causing skin ailments, breathing problems and other debilities. The Plachimada plant has been virtually dysfunctional for
the last several years following prolonged agitations by resistance groups including tribals and legal battles against extraction of ground water by the company. 

Stormy end to last session

The final session of Kerala Assembly ended on a stormy note with ruling CPI-M led LDF and Congress headed Opposition UDF levelling corruption charges against each other.

Trouble started when Speaker K Radhakrishnan refused to entertain a notice for an adjournment motion on an allegation that Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan had sought to influence a Judicial inquiry commission which looked into the 2000 hooch tragedy that left 31 people dead.

Amid protests and noisy scenes, the Speaker took up other businesses for the day and adjourned the House sine-die.

Agency inputs