SHARE
COPY LINK

INDIA

Probe launched into Michelin Indian factory

A French panel which monitors application of OECD principles will hear a complaint alleging that tyre company Michelin breached locals' rights when it built a factory in southeast India, a statement issued by the groups said.

A complaint is to be considered by the National Contact Point (NCP), a panel under the aegis of the French Treasury and which oversees implementation of guiding principles laid down by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the statement added.

According to Bernard Pinaud, head of French non-governmental group CCFD-Terre Solidaire, the plant has contributed to the destruction of 450 hectares (1,100 acres) of forest and is guzzling more than its fair share of local water, depriving residents of their main means of subsistence.

The communities concerned include some of India's poorest citizens, formerly known as "untouchables".

Five groups, including two Indian organisations, filed the complaint against Michelin in July after it built the factory near the village of Thervoy in Tamil Nadu state.

The facility, Michelin's biggest in India, is set to start making tyres in coming weeks, according to the French trade union CGT, which is one of the plaintiffs.

An NCP official declined to comment on the panel's action, describing it as "confidential."

The French daily Le Monde, which said the hearing date was November 22, quoted Michelin as saying: "We refute the accusation contained in this complaint, and Michelin will justify its actions before the NCP."

Michelin has spent 600 million euros ($780 million) on the project.

The NCP is a panel that includes representatives from trade unions, companies, and the French administration.

William Bourdon, head of the French non-governmental group Sherpa, was quoted by the statement as saying: "We expect the NCP … to recommend that an environmental impact study be carried out, and thus ensure that work is suspended until local judicial procedures are taken to term."

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

RESTAURANTS

Michelin unveils Covid-era France picks despite criticism

The Michelin Guide reveals Monday its annual pick of France's top restaurants despite criticism over its decision to hold the awards while establishments remain closed in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michelin unveils Covid-era France picks despite criticism
Auberge du Pont de Collonges. Photo: AFP

Three-star chefs can rest easy, however, after Michelin said none will be demoted as the health crisis rages.

The industry bible's boss Gwendal Poullennec defended inspections that led to 57 new stars overall, even though restaurants remain shuttered after lockdowns imposed last spring and again since October.

“It's an important decision to support the industry, despite the current situation and perhaps even because of the situation,” Poullennec told AFP.

“All the establishments that have kept their star this year or won one are restaurants that fully deserve it,” he said.

READ MORE: Michelin calls off its 2021 France ceremony, but insists there will still be a guide

Michelin has drawn fire for bestowing its verdicts as chefs rack up losses while adapting their menus for takeaway or deliveries — and food fans have little chance of booking tables anytime soon, with or without face masks.

The rival Best 50 list, based in Britain, cancelled its 2020 ranking last year, while France's La Liste said this month that instead of rankings it would honour innovative chefs who have persevered amid the pandemic.

Michelin called off the lavish gala ceremony that was to be held in Cognac, southwest France – the first time outside Paris – and instead will announce the 2021 winners in a YouTube broadcast from the Eiffel Tower.

'Consistent quality'

But Poullennec said all three-star restaurants will keep their stars – France including Monaco counts 29 – while the handful of demotions will affect only restaurants that have closed or changed their dining concept.

He insisted that inspectors worked double duty and even cancelled their sacrosanct summer holidays to eat and drink as much as possible when restaurants were allowed to open under strict virus restrictions between France's lockdowns.

Michelin also brought in inspectors from elsewhere in Europe and even Asia to back up the French team.

“This selection has been made with the same serious attention, and inspectors were able to judge as many meals as the previous year,” he said.

“Despite the difficulties, chefs have risen to the occasion and maintained consistent quality, at times even succeeding in making further progress,” he added.

Poullennec, who took over the guide in 2018, has overseen several choices that have raised eyebrows among chefs and foodies alike.

Last year Michelin shocked industry insiders by downgrading the Auberge du Pont de Collonges — the oldest three-starred restaurant in the world — after the death of its legendary chef Paul Bocuse.

And in January 2019, Marc Veyrat became the first chef to sue the famous red guidebook after it withdrew the third star for his French Alps restaurant La Maison des Bois just a year after it was awarded.

Veyrat, who lost his case, has said he never wants to see a Michelin inspector in any of his restaurants ever again.

 

SHOW COMMENTS