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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Coke, Pepsi pay Himalayan fines
Coke logo on the Himachal Pradesh mountains
Coke and Pepsi to pay 4,000 dollars for repairs
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been fined by India's Supreme Court after painting advertisements on the side of the Himalayan mountains.


They had used a crude process for painting their advertisements and caused irreparable damage

Committee report

The two cola giants were among 12 companies who placed adverts on ecologically sensitive rock faces on a stretch of highway running through the Himalayan range.

A three-judge bench fined the two cola companies 200,000 rupees ($4,000) each, while the other companies were ordered to pay 100,000 rupees each towards the cost of repairing the damage.

A committee, set up to report on the damage, said in a report: "No approval for use of government property for commercial purposes has been obtained by the advertisers.

Abide by decision

The committee also said, "They had used a crude process for painting their advertisements and caused irreparable damage."

A spokesman for PepsiCo India said: "Whatever the court orders, we will abide by this."

The Supreme Court issued notices to the advertisers after becoming concerned the paint might put at risk the ecosystem of the mossy rocks.

Both Pepsi and Coca Cola had earlier claimed the paintings were done by local franchisees without their knowledge and that they were taking steps to rectify the damage.

The paintings were made on a 56km stretch of highway on the Manali-Rohtang pass in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

Fragile terrain

BS Malhans, a member of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) condemned the actions of the advertisers.

Pepsi logo on the Himachal Pradesh mountains
Pepsi logo on the Himachal Pradesh mountains
He said: "Perhaps able entrepreneurs do not realise the irreparable damage this relentless advertisement campaign is causing to the fragile terrain of the world's highest mountain chain."

The passage has been the gateway for centuries to the trading routes leading to Lahaul, in northern India, Central Asia and China.

The 10 other companies who were fined include Malhotra Book Depot, Fena Detergent, Birla White Cement, State Bank of India, Sleepwell Mattresses, Nestle India Ltd and Annapurna Hotels.

See also:

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