Tamil Nadu govt orders closure of Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi

Tamil Nadu govt orders closure of Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi

Tamil Nadu govt orders closure of Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi

Residents who say the copper smelter is causing environmental damage, have been protesting against it for months. Police said they were compelled to respond with live ammunition after demonstrators pelted police with stones, attacked a government building, and set vehicles on fire.

The orders have been issued today dated May 28th signed by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Pazhaniswamy.

Sterlite Copper has requested government approval to expand its vast plant in Tuticorin.

The existing Sterlite Copper plant in the city has been closed since the end March for scheduled maintenance.

Meanwhile, the protests which have been on for almost 100 days, took a turn for the worse when protestors began ransacking and putting vehicles and public property on fire.

The district collector, the chairperson and member secretary of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the secretaries holding the environment portfolios in the central and state governments, the ministers of environment at the state and Centre, and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu need to account for their inaction in the face of overwhelming evidence of illegalities, environmental harm and damage to public health.

Sterlite is likely to challenge the order in the court as it has already announced its plan to move the court against the TNPCB order dated May 23.

In addition to a CBI probe in the matter, the petitioner also prays for compensation to be awarded to the kin of those who lost their lives in the police firing, as well as to the victims who sustained serious injuries.

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The Tamil Nadu government has appointed an inquiry commissioned headed by retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan to investigate the violence, which erupted when over 20,000 protesters marched towards the District Collectorate despite Section 144 being in force.

The police action had received widespread condemnation from Opposition parties as well as worldwide human rights bodies.

The protests have intensified after Vedanta, owned by an Indian billionaire but with its head office in London, sought to expand the plant.

Vedanta said in a statement it regretted the incidents and was working with authorities to ensure the safety of its employees, facilities and the surrounding community.

Tamil Nadu is one of India's most industrialised and prosperous states and similar protests over environmental concerns have turned deadly in the past.

The deaths came on the 100th day of demonstrations against the plant, which environmentalists and residents claim is contaminating water sources - a charge the company denies.

India's federal green court allowed it to be reopened.

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