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Sterlite seeks reopening, victim families resist
By Nirmala Joseph January 12, 2019
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CHENNAI: Vedanta Limited asked the Tamil Nadu government to let it reopen the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi which the state had shuttered in May last year. A fresh application was filed by Sterlite after the Supreme Court allowed the reopening.

At the same time, families of the victims of a police firing on people in Thoothukudi protesting against the plant met the media in Chennai to express their opposition to the reopening.

They alleged that police had restricted their movement and did not allow them to speak freely. They wanted the factory to be shut down permanently.

The state government closed the plant after violent protests against the pollution it was generating. Thirteen people died on May 22, 2017, as police opened fire on protesters who marched to the Collectorate after a 100-day sit-in.

In a statement, Sterlite said it was looking forward to restart one of the best Copper smelters of the world, and it remains committed towards world-class environmental standards. As per the Supreme Court directions, the firm was approaching the state government for necessary approvals for restarting the copper unit.

Sterlite said it will go a long way in promoting socio-economic development in the region.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday refused to stay the December 15 order of the National Green tribunal (NGT) setting aside the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to close the copper plant.

A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha also stayed the December 21, 2018 status quo order issued by the Madurai bench of Madras High Court in regard of re-opening the plant.

The NGT had set aside the state government’s May 28 order for permanent closure of the Sterlite copper plant, and it was unjustified.

The state government has moved the top court against the December 15, 2018 order of the NGT, saying the tribunal had “erroneously” set aside various orders passed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) last year with regard to the issue.

Leader of Opposition MK Stalin opposed the reopening of Sterlite in the state assembly earlier this week. Chief Minister Edappadi K.

Palaniswami on Tuesday said the state government would pursue a legal battle to ensure that the Vedanta Group is not allowed to reopen the Sterlite Copper unit in Thoothukudi.

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