Tamil Nadu orders permanent closure of Sterlite Copper plant

Tamil Nadu government orders closure of Sterlite plant in Tuticorin following death of 13 people

Tamil Nadu government orders closure of Sterlite plant in Tuticorin following death of 13 people

Going into details, almost 5000 people started protest demanding closure of the Vedanta group-owned plant over pollution concerns.

Sterlite Copper, a business unit of Vedanta, a United Kingdom-based multinational mining and metals conglomerate, set up the copper smelting plant in 1996. "Therefore, we demand that the chief minister and the DGP resign immediately", Stalin said, reported ANI.

A curfew remained in pockets of Tuticorin city in Tamil Nadu state where police used live ammunition to disperse protesters this week, provoking worldwide outrage and demands for an immediate investigation.

"Mass murder of innocent people", he tweeted on Wednesday.

A video of a police officer on top of a bus and pointing an assault rifle at crowds has fuelled fresh anger. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, said it was "state-sponsored terrorism".

"The police have a duty during protests to maintain law and order, but lethal force can only be used if there is an imminent threat to life", Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.

Tuticorin Sterlite Protest: What really happened?

The government also transferred district collector N Venkatesh and Superintendent of Police P Mahendran on Wednesday.

Asked whether CRPF is being called in, Nanduri said no such decision has been taken but the situation is still tense. "The postmortem on the bodies is being conducted and they will be handed over to families today".

"Under section 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 (TNPCB) and also directs the TNPCB to seal the unit and close the plant permanently", an order from the environment and forests department said.

For over three months now, thousands of local residents from Thoothukudi and neighbouring towns have been protesting against the operation and proposed expansion of the smelter.

"We fired live ammunition in the air to disperse the protesters".

Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had asserted that "Amma's government" will take resolute steps for the permanent closure of Vedanta group's copper plant.

"We are further studying the order and shall keep the stock exchanges updated on any developments", Vedanta said in a filing to the exchanges late in the evening. Back in 2013 locals said they suffered from nausea and throat infections from alleged gas leaks at the plant.

According to the board, the company failed to adhere to certain agreed upon environmental conditions.

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

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