The Plachimada Story

A Village Against a MNC

Plachimada Is a Small Village in Palakkad District Of Kerala It Falls Under the Perumatty Panchayat The Population Is Mainly Landless Tribal People Belonging to the Eravalar and Malasar Communities •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 .

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 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 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 .Of Toxins On 22nd April 2002 About 1300 Residents of the Village Started Their Agitation Against Coke Coca-cola Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samithy ( AntiCoca Cola Peoples Struggle Committee) Was Formed .As ‘Free’ Fertilizer Which Was Later Found to Have Had High Levels .

Belonging to the Eravalar and Malasar Communities ( STs) . Particularly Women and Children .They formed a Picket in front of the factory The Struggle Was Started by the Adivasis.

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 University 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 .

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 .

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 .2005 The 1000th Day of the Struggle.On Jan 15th .

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 .

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Thank You… .

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