Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Health Rule of Law

Vedanta’s plea to reopen Sterlite copper plant stirs unrest among locals!

Locals say they have no wish to use Sterlite’s oxygen, while the Court says the supply can be sent to other states of India.

Sabrangindia 24 Apr 2021

oxegen

Thoothukudi’s anti-Sterlite protesters warned the Tamil Nadu government on April 24, 2021 that they opposed the reopening of a massive Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper smelter in the area regardless of its intent to produce more oxygen during the Covid-crisis, reported the Deccan Herald.

Earlier, Vedanta filed a petition to the Supreme Court requesting that its copper-smelting plants be opened so it can help with oxygen production to help those suffering from a lack of it. However, local residents, who previously suffered from the company’s alleged flouting of environmental norms, said they will not allow such a decision to stand. They still remember the 13 people who were killed in protests in 2018.

Agitators and activists voiced their concerns about the proposal during a meeting chaired by Thoothukudi District Collector K. Senthil Raj on Friday morning. This was shortly before the Supreme Court hearing of Vedanta's plea wherein Senior Advocate C. S. Vaidyanathan told the apex court about people’s resentment towards the company. He said that if the plant is reopened, the district administration may struggle to maintain law and order.

Most people present at the consultative meeting stood firm on their decision to oppose the reopening, claiming that the company was trying to use the health crisis as an excuse to gain access to its old plant. The few people who support Sterlite Copper's plea for oxygen production were shouted down. According to the newspaper, a few pro-Sterlite locals were manhandled while they were leaving the Collectorate. Opposers said they did not want the oxygen produced by the plant that “destroyed their air” in the first place.

However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) S. A. Bobde said that even if the state or locals do not have an immediate need for oxygen, the plant can help supply oxygen to other states which are facing a severe shortage. He further stated that the government cannot cite a law-and-order problem when people are dying due to lack of oxygen.

Accordingly, the court arranged for further hearing on April 26, allowing the state government to file its affidavit on law-and-order issues.

Sterlite copper’s history

Three years ago, 13 people were killed and 102 injured due to police firing during a protest where people were opposing the expansion of the copper smelter plant that was allegedly causing pollution and endangering people's lives. Eventually, the plant was shut down by the Tamil Nadu government following months of protests. Still, the company approached courts asking for access to the plant for maintenance purposes. The plea has not been entertained so far.

Related:

Consider supplying oxygen to Delhi from nearby plants: Delhi HC to Centre

Centre’s policy to not vaccinate elders at home unreasonable and arbitrary: Bombay HC

War imagery turned upside down!

Sterlite plant to remain shut; Madras HC dismisses petition

Vedanta’s plea to reopen Sterlite copper plant stirs unrest among locals!

Locals say they have no wish to use Sterlite’s oxygen, while the Court says the supply can be sent to other states of India.

oxegen

Thoothukudi’s anti-Sterlite protesters warned the Tamil Nadu government on April 24, 2021 that they opposed the reopening of a massive Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper smelter in the area regardless of its intent to produce more oxygen during the Covid-crisis, reported the Deccan Herald.

Earlier, Vedanta filed a petition to the Supreme Court requesting that its copper-smelting plants be opened so it can help with oxygen production to help those suffering from a lack of it. However, local residents, who previously suffered from the company’s alleged flouting of environmental norms, said they will not allow such a decision to stand. They still remember the 13 people who were killed in protests in 2018.

Agitators and activists voiced their concerns about the proposal during a meeting chaired by Thoothukudi District Collector K. Senthil Raj on Friday morning. This was shortly before the Supreme Court hearing of Vedanta's plea wherein Senior Advocate C. S. Vaidyanathan told the apex court about people’s resentment towards the company. He said that if the plant is reopened, the district administration may struggle to maintain law and order.

Most people present at the consultative meeting stood firm on their decision to oppose the reopening, claiming that the company was trying to use the health crisis as an excuse to gain access to its old plant. The few people who support Sterlite Copper's plea for oxygen production were shouted down. According to the newspaper, a few pro-Sterlite locals were manhandled while they were leaving the Collectorate. Opposers said they did not want the oxygen produced by the plant that “destroyed their air” in the first place.

However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) S. A. Bobde said that even if the state or locals do not have an immediate need for oxygen, the plant can help supply oxygen to other states which are facing a severe shortage. He further stated that the government cannot cite a law-and-order problem when people are dying due to lack of oxygen.

Accordingly, the court arranged for further hearing on April 26, allowing the state government to file its affidavit on law-and-order issues.

Sterlite copper’s history

Three years ago, 13 people were killed and 102 injured due to police firing during a protest where people were opposing the expansion of the copper smelter plant that was allegedly causing pollution and endangering people's lives. Eventually, the plant was shut down by the Tamil Nadu government following months of protests. Still, the company approached courts asking for access to the plant for maintenance purposes. The plea has not been entertained so far.

Related:

Consider supplying oxygen to Delhi from nearby plants: Delhi HC to Centre

Centre’s policy to not vaccinate elders at home unreasonable and arbitrary: Bombay HC

War imagery turned upside down!

Sterlite plant to remain shut; Madras HC dismisses petition

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives