The south Indian Kerala state government has served notice to Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, alleging the company's bottling plant in Plachimada has been polluting water and soil in the area.

Another notice, issued on Monday (15 October) by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) requires the company to respond within 15 days. "We will take appropriate action after verifying the responses from the company. We have given them 15 days to respond to our notice," said S.D. Jayaprasad, a member secretary of the KSPCB.
The accusations are that solid waste 'sold' to local farmers as fertiliser by Hindustan Coca-Cola caused contamination of soil from heavy metals such as cadmium.

Hindustan Coca-Cola has denied the charges. "The plant was a zero-discharge plant while in operation, the treated waste water was used within the plant premises," company spokesman Shahul Ameer said, adding that the charges were "totally unwarranted and arbitrary."

The Plachimada factory has been shut since March 2004 following a temporary ban by the state which was lifted after Coca-Cola won a legal battle in the Indian high court last August.