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The Plachimada Story

A Village Against a MNC

It Is Located in the Rain-shadow Region of the Western Ghats Majority of the Population Is Engaged in Agriculture Mainly Paddy Cultivation Depends on Groundwater and Canal Irrigation

Plachimada Is a Small Village in Palakkad District Of

Belonging to the Eravalar and Malasar Communities

The Population Is Mainly Landless Tribal People

It Falls Under the Perumatty Panchayat

Kerala

Coke Applied to the Perumatty Panchayat for Permission To Start The Factory

The Panchayat and the State Government (Left Democratic Front) Gave the Permission to Start

the Plant

This Was Seen As the Kind of Foreign Investment That Would Bring About Growth and Lead to Development In an Poor Area (Industries Starved State)

The Locals Saw It As an Employment Opportunity

Coke Resumed Its Operations and Started Drawing About 15 Lakh Liters of Water Everyday With More
Coke Resumed Its Operations and Started Drawing About
15 Lakh Liters of Water Everyday With More Than
4 Borewells And Many Open Wells.
The Borewells of Coke Went Upto 500 Ft Deep Whereas
The Wells Of the Locals Were Not More Than 50 Ft
The Promised Employment and Development Never
Came About
Instead Coke Was Ruthlessly Exploiting the Only
Natural Resource That the Locals Had – the Source of Their
Livelihood
Early 2002 the Villagers Started Noticing the Change in the Quality Of Water -They Had to
Early 2002 the Villagers Started Noticing the Change in
the Quality Of Water -They Had to Walk for 5-6 Miles Just
to Get Potable Water- As the Water They Had Was Not Fit
for Consumption or Irrigation
The Company Was Also Giving Foul Smelling Sludge to
the Farmers - As ‘Free’ Fertilizer Which Was Later Found
to Have Had High Levels - Of Toxins
On 22 nd April 2002 About 1300 Residents of the Village
Started
Their Agitation Against Coke
Coca-cola Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samithy ( Anti-
Coca Cola
Peoples Struggle Committee) Was Formed
They formed a Picket in front of the factory The Struggle Was Started by the Adivasis,
They formed a Picket in front of the factory The Struggle Was Started by the Adivasis,
They formed a Picket in front of the factory
The Struggle Was Started by the Adivasis, Particularly
Women and Children ,Belonging to the Eravalar and Malasar
Communities ( STs)
The Local Governments and the State Government Showed Hostility To the Struggle in the Beginning The
The Local Governments and the State
Government
Showed Hostility To the Struggle in the Beginning
The Media and the State Supported Coke
The Perumatty Panchayat Cancelled the Licence
of Coke
Legal Battle Followed
The High Court Gave a Ruling in Favour of Coke

Said That the Panchayat Didn’t Have the Right to Cancel Licence And Should Issue Licence to Coke

The Agitation Continued…

The Media Could No Longer Ignore

People From All Over the State Supported This Struggle Internationally This Struggle Gained Momentum When Universit Students of US and Europe Boycotted Coke

The Plachimada Solidarity Committee Has Now Drawn in Some 32 Organisations From Different Parts of the Country and World Protests Against Other Plants of Coke Also Emerged

The Agitation Continued… The Media Could No Longer Ignore People From All Over the State Supported

Many Studies Were Commissioned to Find Out the Authenticity Of the Claims Made by the Adivasis

It Was Found That, The Water Was Unfit for Human Consumption And the Sludge Which Was Given As Fertilizer Had High Levels Of Lead and Cadmium Which Is Dangerous for Human Health

The Court and KSPCB Directed the Coke Not to Extract Water In the Summer Seasons and Were Told to Provide 1 Lakh Liters Of Water to Local People

The High Court Has Now Given the Plant the Permission

To Extract 5 Lakh Liters Of Water Everyday …

but This Is Not Enough for Coke

On Jan 15 th ,2005 The 1000 th Day of the Struggle, the Protesteors Blockaded the Factory and Declared That

Reopening of the Factory Would Be Prevented at All Costs

Coke Had Created Water Scarcity in a Water Abundant

Area and the People Are Not Willing to Aloow This

‘Hydropiracy’

The Plachimada Struggle Has Etched Itself a Unique

Place Amongst The Issue Based Democratic Struggles in the Country

As the Theories Go This Is an Classic Example of Marxian Concept of Class Conflict

Where the MNCs Are the Bourgeoisie and the Adivasis Are The Proletariat

We Can See That the State Always Supports the Bourgeoisie

This Also Shows How the Imperialist Forces Dominate the Colonies and Exploit Them as the Dependency Theorists say

Finally We Can Say That If ‘ the Workers of the World Unite’

The Exploiter Class Can Always Be Overthrown to Bring About an Egalitarian Society Which Is Free From Exploitation

Thank You…