Coca Cola’s contentious bottling plant in Kerala becomes 600-bed Covid hospital

Around 300 volunteers worked day-night, local residents, village panchayat from neighboring villages, farmers contributed to make the hospital a reality. (Representtaive Image, IE)

Coca-Cola, the beverage major is ramping up its Covid aid to India. After contributing Rs 50 crore as Covid vaccination assistance, providing safety kits, it is now readying a piece of controversial land in Kerala, near Plachimada, that it had chosen for its plant but faced massive resistance by local residents concerned about groundwater exploitation, heavy pollution it will cause and eventually had to shut down.

The plot of land is back in the spotlight as the state government opens doors for a new 600-bed Covid facility here. Kerala Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty who also is the MLA of the Chittur constituency that includes the plant talking to the Indian Express informed that as Covid cases were spiking in Kerala, the minister was looking for premises to set up new facilities, this is when a former employee of the plant approached him with the idea to utilize the closed unit.

When Coca-cola was approached, they completed the required repair work and handed over the land and the hospital came up in two weeks. An official further informed that the facility built at a cost of Rs 75 lakh and has 200 oxygen beds with 10 ventilators and 40 ICUs. Pediatric beds are also included considering the third wave might affect children as well. A dozen of doctors have been appointed and a kilolitre oxygen tank has been set up.

Around 300 volunteers worked day-night, local residents, village panchayat from neighboring villages, farmers contributed to make the hospital a reality. Risha Premkumar, panchayat president informed that they have tied up with sponsors to provide for free food to patients. Moreover, a management committee has been established to address non-medical issues.

Kamalesh Kumar Sharma, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd confirming the news said that the company is glad that its asset was put to use to strengthen the government’s efforts against Covid.

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