Sterlite Copper protest hits 32,500 jobs at Tuticorn plant

Indian police kill 12 in protest over copper plant

Indian police kill 12 in protest over copper plant

This comes a day after nine people were killed in police firing following outbreak of violence at a protest demonstration against the company.

Calls for the copper smelting plant owned by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to be closed had been building in recent months, with residents complaining it was polluting their city. Protesters turned violent on May 22, the 100th day of their stir, and 13 people were killed in police action against them last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami ordered an inquiry into the shootings but defended the police.

The government of Tamil Nadu, Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Tuticorin district administration are squarely responsible for allowing the situation to get to this unfortunate state by allowing Vedanta Sterlite to violate environmental and land use planning laws with impunity for over two decades.

"We would like to restart the plant as soon as possible, in a peaceful manner", P. Ramnath, chief executive of Vedanta Ltd's copper business, told Reuters.

A PIL praying for a probe led by a District judge was filed in the Madras High Court on May 23, while the National Human Rights Commission approached the Delhi High Court on May 24 seeking a direction to carry out a probe in Thoothukudi. The deputy CM spoke to reporters in Thoothukudi and said that compensation to the injured were being paid. As per the government the mob clashed with police, and set vehicles and public property on fire.

Source Kamal Haasan  Twitter
Source Kamal Haasan Twitter

The smelter, operated by an Indian subsidiary of London-based Vedanta Resources, has been repeatedly shut down over pollution complaints and was fined £10m in 2013 for breaching environmental norms and operating without the consent of the state pollution board.

The DMK and other opposition parties have announced a dawn-to-dusk bandh across the state to protest against the police action in Thoothukudi.

In an official statement reported in the media, Sterlite Copper said: "It's with great sorrow and regret that we witnessed today's incidents around the protest today at Tuticorin". Palaniswami also assured government jobs for one family member of each of those who lost their lives in accordance with their qualifications. "The company is working with the relevant authorities to ensure the safety of our employees, facilities and the surrounding community", she said.

Most businesses have remained shut since the violence began.

The plant has been shut for over 50 days following protests by local people who allege that water was contaminated by emission from the plant.

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




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