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#Goodnews -Coca-Cola forced out of $25 million factory in India

coke

The Ecologistcokecokecoke

27th August 2014

After a 15-year battle, local campaigners infuriated by pollution, over-pumping of groundwater and land-grabbing have finally forced the closure of Coca-Cola’s $25 million factory near Varanasi.

Coca-Cola is a shameless and unethical company that has consistently placed its pursuit of profits over the well-being of communities that live around its facilities

The Coca-Cola company has been forced to abandon a $25 million newly built bottling plant in Mehdiganj, Varanasi, India as the result of a sustained campaign against the company’s plans.

The $25 million plant – which was a significant expansion to its existing plant in Mehdiganj – had already been fully built and the company had also conducted trial runs, but could not operate commercially as it did not have the required permits to operate.

Coca-Cola required permissions, or ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC), from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) – the national groundwater regulatory agency, and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) – the statewide pollution regulatory agency.

The Central Ground Water Authority rejected Coca-Cola’s application to operate for its new facility on July 21, 2014, and had sought time till 25th August 2014, to announce its decision before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), India’s ‘green’ court.

Coke ‘withdraws’ days before the announcement

Somehow having learnt that its application had been rejected, in order to save itself major embarrassment, Coca-Cola sent a letter to the CGWA on Friday, August 22, 2014 – two days before the rejection was to be made public on Monday, August 25, 2014 – stating that it was “withdrawing” its application.

Bizarrely, Coca-Cola blamed “inordinate delays” by the authority as the reason for its “withdrawal” just two days before the decision was to be made public.

The campaign has worked for the last two years to ensure that the regulators were made aware of the problems being created by Coca-Cola’s existing bottling facility, and the reasons why a five-fold increase in groundwater allowance that Coca-Cola had sought for its new facility would further deteriorate the conditions in the area.

The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) had also shut down Coca-Cola’s plant on June 6, 2014 because it found the company to be violating a number of conditions of its license, including a lack of NOC from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).

Coca-Cola was able to obtain a stay order from the NGT that allowed it to temporarily re-open its existing plant on June 20, 2014

Groundwater shortages followed Coke’s arrival

The groundwater conditions in the Mehdiganj area have gone from ‘safe’ category, when Coca-Cola began operations in June 1999 to ‘critical’ in 2009.

As a result, severe restrictions have been placed by the government on groundwater use by the community and farmers.

“Coca-Cola is a shameless and unethical company that has consistently placed its pursuit of profits over the well-being of communities that live around its facilities”, said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center which has led the campaign to challenge the new plant.

“It is absolutely reprehensible for a globally recognized company like Coca-Cola to seek further groundwater allowances from an area that has become acutely water-stressed, and that in large part due to its own mining of groundwater.”

A ‘major setback’

The loss of the $25 million project is a major setback for Coca-Cola. The company has identified India as a major market where it seeks to derive significant future profits, particularly since Coca-Cola sales are being hit in more developed due to major health concerns.

“We are delighted that the Indian government is doing what it is supposed to do – protect the common property resource of groundwater from rampant exploitation, particularly in water-stressed areas.

“This should serve as a notice to other companies that they cannot run roughshod over Indian rules and regulations and deny community rights over groundwater”, said Srivastava.

 


 

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Nokia India workers stage protest

STAFF REPORTER

 Nearly 2,000 workers from Nokia India’s Chennai plant — which employs close to 8,000 people — took to the streets here on Monday, to raise awareness regarding their job insecurity and to demand protection for their livelihood.

The Finnish handset maker is now involved in two separate tax disputes, one with the Centre and one with the Tamil Nadu Government. Tax authorities have frozen the company’s assets, which include the Chennai plant, until the dispute with the Centre is resolved. The plant, which needs to be transferred to software giant Microsoft before the end of April as part of the impending acquisition, faces, therefore, an uncertain future.

If some of the workers do lose their jobs, which the management has indicated is a possibility due to the number of tax wrangles the company is currently fighting, then the question of re-skilling themselves and finding new jobs comes into play.

According to Saravana Kumar, Nokia India Employees Union President, much of the work done at the Nokia’s Chennai plant is unskilled work that involves no specialised skills that can be transferred to other industries.

“The average age of the employees at the Chennai plant is around 25, with nearly 60 per cent of the workers being women. Some employees have joined just after finishing their basic schooling. How will they find jobs elsewhere… these skills are not transferable, it is just assembly work,” Mr. Kumar told this correspondent .

“Most of the workers have been working here for the last eight years…it is too late for them to go to college . We want to make sure all the workers transfer to Microsoft as part of the acquisition and not left behind” he added.

“A lot of us come from families that depended on weaving or farming for their livelihood. We have left that and depend on Nokia as our job at the plant is our biggest asset now. I don’t know what else we will ,” said P. Radhika, a 26 year old shop-floor worker.

“Most plants in this area [Sriperumbudur] want workers in the age of 20-22 years. It will be difficult to go back to my family right now, they will be heartbroken,” she added.

A Nokia India spokesperson said that the company had been in close contact with the union officials to ensure the health and well-being of all participating employees.

Read more here — http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/nokia-india-workers-stage-protest/article5855797.ece

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#India – Bomb blast exposes chinks in the security of Kudankulam nuclear plant

Friday, Nov 29, 2013, 7:22 IST | Place: THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | Agency: DNA

The blast which killed six persons, including a woman and two children, at a village near Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamail Nadu’s Tirunelveli district has exposed the chinks in the security agencies’ armour.

It is generally believed that if the activities of personnel of various Central security agencies deployed at Kudankulam, situated at nearly 100km from Thiruvananthapuram, in view of the years of simmering popular protest to stall the installation of the mammoth Russian-built plant at the sea-front had been coordinated in a better and more imaginative manner, the blast would have been averted.

More shockingly, that the incident took place hardly two kilometres from the live plant throws light on the possibility of making it a soft target for sea-born miscreants sent by forces bent on destabilising the country.

The only relief for the agencies is that the blast of powerful home-made bombs was not the handiwork of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which has been spearheading the agitation. Having realised this,  the Tamil Nadu police have dropped the names of PMANE leaders Uthaya Kumar, Pushparayan, Mukilan and their several associates from the case.

Now the police have registered an FIR against a polytechnic student Vijaya, who was seriously injured in the blast and two deceased in the incident — Yahappen and Susaimariya — said district police chief Vijayendra Bidari.

The country bombs went off at a colony set up for tsunami victims at Idinthakari village adjacent to Kudankulam. The deceased and injured have taken shelter along with several others here from the sand mafia which calls the shots at the village of Kuthenkuly which is nearly 10km from Kudankulam.

The police say that the villagers lost a fierce fight with the mafia engaged in mining sand from sea shore and fled the village. They had been making bombs to hit back at the mafia.

The villagers say that Kudankulam and neighbouring villages have been witnessing bloody skirmishes between people and sand mafia for the past several years. The Kuthenkuly villagers and mafia called a truce three years ago yielding to the pressure of police, but it did not last long.

Authorities are aware that explosives are widely used in clashes between the people and mafia and the explosives are taken from one village to another through sea. Yet, the state police and security agencies have failed to clear the area of explosives despite the fact that the nuclear power plant is located at almost a porous shore and residents’ ire against the plant has been raging.

Though the authorities at the plant have been shocked by the incident, none has openly expressed it.

“It’s a security issue to be dealt by the police and other agencies. Let the board of directors
of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd look into the issue,’’ plant site director RS Sunder reported to have told media

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DAE 1972 Chakravarty Report states Jaitapur has potential sources of Earthquake

Radiation sign for maps

 

 

 

 

 

A section of the Jaitapur nuclear plant site selection committee’s report that was withheld by the government and was recently retrieved by a local Premanand Tiwarkar through the Right to Information Act (RTI) contradicts Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) claim that the site is fit for a nuclear plant.

 

A 1972 study by the Site Selection Committee of the DAE states d, “Tectonic features in the region can be regarded as potential sources of earthquakes as some of them may get reactivated at any point….”

 

The relevent parts of report can be downloaded here

 

 

 

 

 

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Supreme Court bench reserves order on Kudankulam nuclear plant

Date: 6 December 2012
Subject: DNA – Supreme Court bench reserves order on Kudankulam nuclear plant

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a plea seeking a stay on commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear plant till all safety measures are put in place.

Following a marathon arguments spanning the last three months, a bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra reserved its order on the plea that questioned the safety and security of people, the environmental impact and other issues linked to the controversial plant.

The court was hearing a bunch of petition filed by anti-nuclear activists challenging the project on the ground that safety measures recommended for the plant by an expert body has not been put in place. They also raised various questions pertaining to the disposal of nuclear waste and the plant’s impact on environment.

The Centre, Tamil Nadu government and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, which operates the plant, had refuted all the allegations on safety and security aspects. They submitted that the plant is completely safe and can withstand any kind of natural disaster and external terrorist attack.

The bench on the first date of hearing on September 13 had refused to stay the loading of fuel for the plant but had agreed to examine the risk associated with the project, saying the safety of people in its vicinity is its key concern.

“Public safety is of prime importance. There are poor people living in the vicinity of the plant and they should know their lives would be protected,” the apex court had said.

Maintaining that the plant is completely safe, the Centre had said all the recommendations made by the expert group cannot be put in place in one go and would be implemented in due course within six months to two years.

“The design includes provisions for withstanding external events like earthquake, tsunami/strom, tidal waves, cyclones, shock waves, aircraft impact on main buildings and fire,” NPCIL had said in its affidavit.

“As regards to the vulnerability of the KKNPP to the terrorists attacks, sabotage, etc, it has elaborate physical security arrangements in place to ensure its security. The structural design of the facilities at KKNPP ensures that in the event of a physical attack, the structure would prevent the release of any radioactivity into the public domain,” it had said.

 

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The real truth about the Koodunkulam Nuclear Power Plant #mustwatch

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The real truth about the Koodunkulam Nuclear Power Plant with its history and the people’s continuous protests. Great work by the NDTV team.  Join againnst the nuclear power in order to save the lives and livelihood of the people. kindly pass this video and share it in your blog and Social networks in order to spread the awareness.

 

Thousands of fishermen from 40 villages around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu have surrounded the area from about 500 metres in the sea and are shouting slogans to protest against the plant. This is a token seige of the plant, since they will not be allowed by policemen to get any closer. Activist SP Udhayakumar, who is spearheading the anti-plant protests, today said in their next action, protestors would lay siege to the Tamil Nadu Assembly in Chennai on October 29.

 

 

 

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‘It’s Easier To Coerce Outsiders And Treat Them Like Slaves’- Maruti Violence

 

Complaining of one-sided media reports, four arrested Maruti employees offer an alternative narrative to the carnage that befell the automaker’s Manesar plant on July 18

Return to work at Manesar with Maruti? Never again, says Ashok, a 22-year-old worker from the stricken factory, with a shudder. An apprentice for the last three months, Ashok, a native of Hisar, spoke to Outlook hours before he was picked up by the police and charged with murder. The young man, along with 91 other workers of Maruti’s Manesar plant, is now lodged in Gurgaon Central Jail.

Ashok and three other workers protest their innocence, claiming that the cctv footage would prove them right. When informed that the footage was said to have been damaged in the arson, they are incredulous. “The fire might have damaged the camera and the lens, but the footage should be available in the central monitor,” they argue. But after hurried consultations among themselves, they concede that if the fire was caused by a short circuit, it could have stopped the recording.

The first shift that day (6.30 am to 3 pm) was uneventful, they recall. It was only after they had come out of the plant that they found the gate locked and police and security personnel milling at the exit. They were not allowed to punch their attendance card either (the company’s version is that workers from the first shift stubbornly stayed back, indicating that the violence was pre-planned). Those who were arrested say the workers, on being denied permission to leave, grew increasingly restive. Almost four hours later, there was a sudden commotion and several “injured” workers rushed out of the office building. Some were shouting, “bhaago, jaan bachao.” The general word was, “Police aur management kisi ko nahin chhodenge.”

The four are unable (or unwilling) to explain what had led to the commotion or how the workers sustained injuries. But they appear unanimous in their assertion that many more workers were injured that day than managers. They feel the workers’ version is not being aired and that the media is only publishing what it is being briefed by the management and state government.

The workers accuse the company of increasing production without adding to the number of workers or the required machinery. Leave, they recall, was hard to get. They were entitled to just nine days’ leave every year in addition to the weekly off, they claim. Medical and casual leave might have existed on paper, they say, but for every working day they missed beyond the nine sanctioned leave days, the company would deduct `1,500. A maximum of seven days off was permitted for a worker getting married. But if, say, it was a sister’s wedding, any request for more than two days’ leave was frowned upon. “They treat us like slaves,” says 28-year-old Ram Kumar of Jaunpur—the only contract worker amongst the four.

A large number of workers would be suspended for several weeks and months if they protested or did not report for work. Their absorption as regular employees would be put off and their promotion delayed. “The `4,500 paid to me was not even enough to pay for the rent, food and transport and most of us had to fall back upon remittances from home,” complains Ranjit, an apprentice, also hailing from Hisar. “Ek chaddhi tak nahin khareed sakte the,” Ranjit adds, with no little bitterness.

There’s obviously strong resentment against some of the local villagers, particularly those who are opposed to the workers’ agitation in the fear that the plant will be ‘shifted’. The company, they added, would not dare recruit local boys under prevailing working conditions. “It’s easier to coerce outsiders and treat them like slaves,” exclaims one, while his colleague defiantly chips in, “let the local Lotharios survive even 10 days in these conditions.”


(All names have been changed to protect the identities of workers.)

 

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Tata Steel still to pay Rs.27 crore to villagers

Wordmark of Tata Steel

Raipur, March 21 (IANS) Tata Steel, India‘s largest private sector steel major, has still to pay over Rs.27 crore compensation amount to villagers in Chhattisgarh‘s Bastar district to take over their land for setting up an integrated steel plant, the assembly was told Wednesday.

“Tata Steel is still due to make payment of Rs 27.35 crore compensation amount to the villagers. The company has so far paid Rs.42.07 crore,” Revenue Minister Dayaldas Baghel told the house.

The minister said Tata Steel would require 2,044 hectares of land for setting up the steel plant. As the proposed plant area comes in a tribal belt, the state would acquire land on behalf of company and allot it on lease.

But the compensation has to be paid by the company, the minister said.

Tata Steel, whichn inked a pact with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005, is setting up a 5.5 million tonne per annum steel plant in Lohandiguda area in Bastar, some 340 km south of Raipur.

Baghel said the Bastar administration had acquired 1,764 hectare of land from 1,707 land holders located in 10 villages between October 2007 and February 2008.

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