India: Defunct Coca Cola plant in Kerala to turn into 600-bed Covid hospital
The state government will be inaugurating the new healthcare facility near Plachimada on Friday.
A 34-acre plot of land in Palakkad in Kerala, which was at the centre of a major controversy involving Coca Cola and residents of the area who were opposed to the pollution and groundwater exploitation by the American giant about 20 years, will now be a 600-bed Covid facility.
The state government will be inaugurating the new healthcare facility near Plachimada on Friday. “A month ago, when Covid cases were spiking in Kerala, we were looking for premises to increase infrastructure for treatment,” K. Krishnakutty, the electricity minister, who also represents Chittur, where the facility is located, told the media. “That was when some former employees of the plant suggested that I approach Coca-Cola with the idea of using the closed unit for a hospital.”
The company did some repairs and handed over the building to the government. Local residents including farmers contributed some money for the facility, which will feature 100 oxygen beds, 40 ICUs and have 10 ventilators.
Turned a non-functioning Coca Cola plant in Palakkad into a 550 bed Covid treatment center spending 1.1 Crore. The CSLTC has 100 oxygen beds, 50 ICU beds and 20 ventilators. Kerala is gearing up for the impending third wave. pic.twitter.com/jyDGwr2lZT— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) June 18, 2021
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the facility would help in the fight against Covid. He also praised Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages for providing the land and for spending its CSR funds for the project.
A spokesperson of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages said the company was pleased to strengthen the government’s battle against Covid. “The scale of this disease is such that it needs the coordinated effort of everyone to check its spread,” said Kamalesh Kumar Sharma, the spokesperson. “When the district administration requested us for the plant premises to open a Covid treatment centre, we handed it over after the required repair and maintenance.”
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