小剋大!印度民眾可依法向可口可樂求償 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

小剋大!印度民眾可依法向可口可樂求償

2011年03月04日
摘譯自2011年2月28日ENS印度喀拉拉邦,特里凡得瑯報導;謝雯凱編譯;蔡麗伶審校

2006年4月5日,民眾聚集在喀拉拉邦普拉奇馬達的可口可利裝瓶工廠大門口抗議。圖片來自:Kasuga Sho相本。印度喀拉拉邦(Kerala)州議會於2月24日史無前例地通過一項法令,若個人權益因普拉奇馬達(Plachimada)村中的可口可樂裝瓶工廠而受害,可據此向該公司索取金錢補償,彌補生態破壞、水污染與水源匱乏之損失。

此項立法設置一個三人仲裁庭,主席為區域級法官,有權在對普拉奇馬達可口可樂工廠的求償個案中做出裁決。仲裁庭已獲合法授權可傳喚個人、索取文件,尋找及詰問證人,此法案並擁有法律約束效力,可要求可口可樂公司遵循仲裁庭指示。

根據這項法案,仲裁庭應採用永續發展原則、預警原則與「污染者付費」原則。一旦判定賠償,該公司應負擔仲裁庭全數費用。若不服仲裁庭判決,可向高等法院提出上訴。

這次立法乃緣自政府高階委員會(High Power Committee)於2010年3月22日作成的報告與建議,報告認為,可口可樂是在印度南部喀拉拉邦普拉奇馬達造成汙染與水源枯竭的禍首。

高階委員會援引污染者付費原則,建議印度可口可樂飲料有限公司,亦即美國亞特蘭大可口可樂公司的分支,應承擔21億6千萬印度盧比(約合 4800萬美元),賠償所造成的傷害。

高階委員會於報告中指出:「委員會握有令人信服的證據,斷定印度可口可樂公司造成普拉奇馬達嚴重的水源枯竭,也嚴重污染水源與土地。」

「委員會已做出結論,該公司為造成這些損失的禍首,有義務須支付受害民眾農損、疾病、薪資減少、就學機會損失,與水源污染的賠償費用。」

數年前社區主導一場行動,指控可口可樂公司加劇該區域的水源短缺問題並造成污染,致使普拉奇馬達的可口可樂裝瓶工廠自2005年便已關閉。

「對喀拉拉邦與印度人民而言,這是具有里程碑意義的時刻。」普拉奇馬達團結工聯的成員阿業言(R. Ajayan)如此表示,阿業言自反抗行動開始以來,便一直積極參予其中。他說:「法案的通過意味著,喀拉拉邦人民的意志現在已然成為這片土地的法律。」

印度可口可樂公司則批評該法案「缺乏事實、科學數據,或任何來自該公司的資料」,並稱此過程「有所瑕疵」。

印度可口可樂公司在其網站上說明:「對於可口可樂公司在印度開採地下水的指控,並沒有任何科學依據,政府規範水源使用的政府主管機關與工廠所在地的地方政府,都不支持這樣的說法。」

「舉例來說,在喀拉拉邦工廠周圍約5公里的範圍內,約有200口開放式淺井,可口可樂只使用2口位於廠區內的開放式淺井。」印度可口可樂公司說明:「同樣的區域內,有將近150口深井,只有6口深井位於我們的廠區,可口可樂工廠從未使用過3口以上的深井。」

「喀拉拉邦地下水水位確實有所降低,降雨量遠低於過去幾年的水準,」該公司表示:「喀拉拉邦地下水署已說過,地下水源枯竭肇因於降雨稀少,並不能歸咎於工廠。」

然而社區領袖認為,普拉奇馬達位於喀拉拉邦水源的富水區,曾經擁有大量的地下水,因可口可樂公司耗用而枯竭。社區領袖矢言要繼續反抗行動,要求州政府也應追究可口可樂的刑事過失。

反對普拉奇馬達可口可樂廠的行動也獲得廣泛的國際支持,美國、英國、加拿大與挪威的大專院校都曾針對可口可樂採取行動。

有兩個其他的社區也正發起行動,力促當地的可口可樂裝瓶工廠關門大吉,兩個地方分別是拉賈斯坦邦(Rajasthan)的卡拉德拉(Kala Dera)和北方邦(Uttar Pradesh)的梅地加尼(Mehdiganj)。

國際行動組織印度資源中心(India Resource Center)的成員斯里瓦斯塔瓦(Amit Srivastava)表示:「這是普拉奇馬達社區與其支持者的重大勝利,他們一路從社區打到州政府的立法程序,不但抗爭成功,也成功抵禦了一間全球跨國大公司。」

斯里瓦斯塔瓦說:「這應足以作為有力的提醒,告訴全印度各家公司,若營運胡作非為,將會有嚴重後果。」

Coca-Cola India Will Face Tribunal on Eco-Damage Claims
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala, India, February 28 (ENS)

In an unprecedented move, the state legislature of Kerala passed a law on Thursday allowing individuals affected by Coca-Cola's bottling operations in the village of Plachimada to seek financial compensation from the company for ecological damage, water pollution and water scarcity.

The legislation sets up a three-member tribunal to be chaired by a district judge with the power to adjudicate claims for compensation as a result of Coca-Cola's operations in Plachimada.

The tribunal has been granted legal authority to summon individuals and documents, as well as seek and examine witnesses, and the bill legally binds Coca-Cola to follow the directives of the tribunal.

Under the bill, the tribunal shall apply the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the "polluter pays" principle. Once compensation is awarded, the company shall deposit the entire award amount with the tribunal. All appeals against the tribunal's decisions would go to the High Court.

The legislation is based on the report and recommendations of a High Power Committee whose report on March 22, 2010 holds Coca-Cola responsible for causing pollution and water depletion in Plachimada in the state of Kerala in south India.

Using the polluter pays principle, the High Power Committee had recommended that Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, HCBPL, a subsidiary of Atlanta based Coca-Cola Company, be held liable for Indian rupees 216 crore (US$48 million) for damages caused.

In its report, the High Power Committee said, "The Committee thus has compelling evidence to conclude that the HCBPL has caused serious depletion of the water resources of Plachimada, and has severely contaminated the water and soil."

"The Committee has come to the conclusion that the company is responsible for these damages and it is obligatory that they pay the compensation to the affected people for the agricultural losses, health problems, loss of wages, loss of educational opportunities, and the pollution caused to the water resources," states the report.

Coca-Cola's bottling plant in Plachimada has been shut down since 2005 as a result of a community-led campaign which accused Coca-Cola of exacerbating water shortages in the area and causing pollution.

"This is a landmark moment for the people of Kerala and India," said R. Ajayan of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee, which has been active in the campaign since its inception. "The passage of the bill means that people's will in Kerala has now become law of the land."

HCBPL has criticized the bill as being "devoid of facts, scientific data or any input from" the company and called the process "flawed."

On its website, HCBPL says, "Allegations that The Coca-Cola Company is exploiting groundwater in India are without any scientific basis and are also not supported either by the Government authorities who regulate our water use in India, academics, or the local communities in which our plants are located."

"Within approximately five kilometers of the Kerala plant, for example, there are about 200 open shallow wells. Coca-Cola uses only 2 open shallow wells within the plant," says HCBPL. "In the same area there are nearly 150 bore wells. There are only 6 bore wells within our plant and the Coca-Cola plant uses no more than 3 bore wells at any one time."

"In Kerala, where ground water levels have certainly decreased, the rainfall has been well below average for several years," the company says. "The Kerala State Ground Water Department has said that any depletion in ground water was due to poor rainfall and could not be attributed to the plant."

But community leaders argue that Plachimada is situated in the heart of Kerala's water belt and once had large underground water deposits that Coca-Cola has drained.

Plachimada community leaders have vowed to continue the campaign, demanding that the state government also charge Coca-Cola with criminal offenses.

The campaign against Coca-Cola in Plachimada has also enjoyed tremendous international support, with colleges and universities in the US, UK, Canada and Norway taking action against Coca-Cola.

Two other community campaigns - in Kala Dera in Rajasthan and Mehdiganj in Uttar Pradesh - are also seeking closure of their local Coca-Cola bottling plants.

"This is a massive victory for the community of Plachimada and their supporters who have campaigned successfully all the way from the community to the state legislature, and that too against a global multinational corporation," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaign group.

Srivastava said, "This should serve as a powerful reminder to corporations across India that there are severe repercussions for operating recklessly."

全文及圖片詳見:ENS報導