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Protesters cheer as Thoothukudi collector seals Sterlite plant after govt order

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday directed the state’s environment regulatory body to seal the Vedanta group’s copper plant and close it down “permanently”.

india Updated: May 29, 2018 00:04 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Thoothukudi plant,Sterlite plant,Tamil Nadu government
Thirteen people lost their lives in the police firing in Thoothukudi last week.(Reuters File Photo)

Cheers greeted Tuticorin collector Sandip Nanduri and Tahsildar Sivagami Sundari on Monday evening when they led a team of officials and policemen to seal the controversial Copper Smelter plant of Vedanta Limited, protesting against which, 13 people lost their lives in police firing last week.

Within minutes of the TN government issuing orders, the team visited the premises and sealed it.

“This is what we were fighting for and it took the sacrifice of 13 innocent villagers for the government to act,” said a protester.

Environmental Nityanand Jayaraman said, “the supreme sacrifice of the 13 villagers, shot and killed will not go in vain.”

The Vedanta group is notorious in flouting environmental norms, he said.

Another local however, was apprehensive of the closure. “We hope this closure is really permanent. We have seen in the past closures and reopening,” said S Raja, a member of the Tuticorin traders’ association.

The TN government order came after outrage across the country and a massive campaign by the Opposition in Tamil Nadu.

Monday’s government order said “the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.”

“under Sections 18(1) (b) of the Water Act, 1974 in the larger public interest, the government endorses the closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and also direct ... to seal the unit ...”

First Published: May 28, 2018 23:05 IST