With the issue of oil contamination of the Kelani River by a bottling plant of Coca Cola Beverages set to go before courts next week, the company on Friday claimed that it had paid all fines and compensation to various authorities as specified by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). However, the company declined to specify the exact amount in damages it had paid or identify the authorities concerned.

The Environment Conservation Trust (ECT) stated it was in the process of filing a Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court challenging Coca Cola Beverages over the oil contamination issue in the coming week, Executive Director of the trust Sajeewa Chamikara told The Nation.

Chamikara lamented that the issue regarding contamination of the Kelani River and water pollution hasn’t been addressed seriously.

He told The Nation that the trust would initially take the case to the Human Rights Commission this week.

“We all know very well that this issue has not been addressed adequately and appropriately,” he said adding, “Hence it is in the best interest of the consumer that we will be initiating legal action.”

Chamikara added that once the case has been put forth to the Human Rights Commission, a fundamental rights petition would be filed in courts. Meanwhile, issuing a statement Coca Cola Beverages Sri Lanka (CCBSL) said since its bottling plant in Biyagama was reopened, it was “working in consultation with regulatory bodies, so that we can be compliant as per conditions laid out by CEA. Also, we would like to confirm that we have made all payments to various authorities as advised by CEA.”

“Earlier, CCBSL had already reimbursed the expenses incurred by the Marine Environment Protection,” the company further said.

The Nation’s attempts to contact National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) Chairman Alahudeen Ansar, to ascertain whether the company had in fact paid compensation to the board, were futile.