Edited by Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia
Chapter 8: Dynamic Networks and Successful Social Action: A Theoretical Framework to Examine the Coca-Cola Controversy in Kerala, India
8. Dynamic networks and successful social action: a theoretical framework to examine the CocaCola controversy in Kerala, India Sridevi Shivarajan In July 2010, in the wake of the recommendations of a high-powered investigation committee, the government of Kerala (a southern state of India), decided to constitute a tribunal to obtain compensation of approximately $50 million from the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Company for the ecological damage it caused in and around Plachimada village in the state. This appears to be the last chapter in the long and fractured history of the Coca-Cola plant which was set up amidst much fanfare in 2001, only to be unceremoniously shut down in 2004, following widespread allegations of ecological and social wrongdoing, never to reopen again. TIMELINE OF THE COCA-COLA CONTROVERSY The plant, known as the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Ltd (HCCBPL), was commissioned on March 2000 in Plachimada, Kerala. Earlier, during a global investors meeting in 1999, the state government of Kerala had extended an invitation to Coca-Cola to invest in the state. The location was chosen by the company based on a satellite survey, which indicated the presence of abundant groundwater in the area. The picturesque village of Plachimada is located in Palakkad district in Kerala, one of the southernmost states of India. Plachimada figures in the list of areas listed as economically disadvantaged by the state government. In fact, the Coca-Cola plant was one of only two industrial units registered with the local government, the Panchayat. Agriculture is the predominant occupation here,...
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