Rock rap: companies, HP face the music

In a landmark judgement on environmental advocacy, the Supreme Court (SC) has set up a corpus fund and imposed a fine of Rs 4 crore on companies, including Coke and Pepsi, for defacing rocks along the Rohtang-Manali road in Himachal Pradesh (HP). Included in this fund is a Rs 1 crore fine slapped on the HP government for allowing companies to paint advertisements on the ecofragile rocks.

The apex court has also directed the Union ministry of environment and forests to file an affidavit to gauge the extent of such commercial vandalism in other states. "The message must go to all states that they had a responsibility to protect the environment and forests and they must be made accountable if there is any dereliction of duty,' noted the bench. The court noted that among the advertisements painted on the rocks, MBD