Plachimada Case Study

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International Environmental Law Research Centre

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF PLACHIMADA
A CASE STUDY

Sujith Koonan

IELRC WORKING PAPER
2007 - 05

This paper can be downloaded in PDF format from IELRC’s website at http://www.ielrc.org/content/w0705.pdf

International Environmental Law Research Centre International Environment House Chemin de Balexert 7, 1219 Châtelaine Geneva, Switzerland info@ielrc.org www.ielrc.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION I. II. THE BACKGROUND LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK A. B. C. III. Analysis of Pollution Control Laws Institutions: Powers and Failures The Role of the Panchayat

1 1 2 2 4 6 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 11 12 12 14 14 15 17

PLACHIMADA IN THE KERALA HIGH COURT A. B. Background of the Case Principles in the
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The Hindustan Coca Cola Company set up a plant in this district in the year 2000. The plant occupies an area of around 34 acres of land. This land had been classified ‘arable’ by the Government of India. Quite naturally, the site of the plant is surrounded by a number of water reservoirs and canals built for irrigation.1 Plachimada village of Perumatty panchayat in Chittoor taluk is a small hamlet in Palakkad district. It is also home to several scheduled caste and scheduled tribe populations. The villagers are predominantly landless, illiterate, agricultural labourers. Almost 80 per cent of the population depends upon agriculture for their livelihood. Hence, it is most likely that, the location of an industrial plant, which consumes water heavily, in a socially and economically backward, in a region that is agricultural but drought prone would result in serious adverse implications to the life and the environment. The people of Plachimada started to suffer adversities within six months after the Company started its activities. It was reported that the salinity and hardness of the water had risen. Apart from the increase in salinity and hardness, the water from some open wells and shallow bore wells nearby was alleged to have an extremely
1 The site is located barely three kilometers to the north of the Meenakkara Dam reservoir and a few hundred meters west of the Kambalathara and

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