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Land allotment cancelled, Hindustan Coca-Cola demands refund
Tuesday April 21, 2015 8:45 PM, IANS

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has cancelled the land allotment to Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd for its plant in Erode district, an official said on Tuesday.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages has requested the state government to refund the entire amount paid by it.

An industries department official told IANS on the condition of anonymity: "A show-cause notice has been issued to the company on land allocation."

However, Additional Chief Secretary C.V.Sankar and the managing director of the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT) R.Selvaraj were not available for comments and clarifications when contacted by IANS.

In a statement Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages said: "We have requested state government to refund entire money paid so far."

Reiterating its interest in investing in Tamil Nadu, the company said it had written to the state government that due to unforeseen pressures and delays it will not be able to invest in SIPCOT, Perundurai.

According to the company, it was allotted a parcel of land by SIPCOT to set up a greenfield state-of-the art bottling plant at a proposed cost of Rs. 500 crore in 2014.

The company took all steps to start construction on the allotted land. However, the project was delayed due to unanticipated, outside pressures, the company said.

The company said in spite of repeated follow-ups, many prerequisite approvals/permissions were awaited which include draft copy of the 'Water Agreement' to procure water from the New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Ltd and laying of water pipeline from SIPCOT entrance to the allotted site for which payment has already been made.

"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," the company charged.

"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," Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages said.

Local people including farmers were against the cola plant at Perundurai and in March around 3,500 shops in Erode district had downed their shutters in protest.

The company was allotted around 71 acres of land in SIPCOT's industrial estate in Perundurai.

People were protesting against the plant as they feared it would deplete the ground water resources in the district. Perundurai is about 445 km from Chennai.

All the political parties, except the ruling AIADMK, had called for the protest against the plant.

Coca-Cola's bottling plant in Plachimada in Kerala was also strongly opposed by the local people.

Curiously the government's decision comes ahead of the global investors meet to be held here next month.

However, the AIADMK government had earlier categorically declared that it would not allow industrial projects that affect the farmers.

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