Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin to be permanently shut

Tamil Nadu Leader of Opposition Stalin

Officials say nine protesters were killed when police opened fire on demonstrators demanding the closure of a south Indian copper plant.

Thousands of local residents have been protesting for more than three months against the Sterlite copper smelting plant and its reported expansion.

Ten people were shot dead and about 80 wounded by police after crowds set fire to cars and pelted officers with stones on Tuesday.

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

"It is brought to the notice of the Government that Tamil Nadu Pollution Board did not renew the Consent to Operate to M/s Vedanta Limited, Copper Smelter Plant, SIPCOT Industrial Complex, Thoothukudi District in its order dated 9.4.2018".

Sterlite Copper, which now operates a 400,000-tonne per annum unit in the city, maintains it has received necessary permits and has not violated any norms. The angry protesters, who have been protesting for the past 100 days, took out a procession towards the Collectorate defying prohibitory orders in the area.

Indian police kill 12 in protest over copper plant
Police in south India accused of mass murder after shooting dead protesters

Plans to double its capacity are also under threat after a local court delivered an interim order staying the expansion until a further hearing, to be held by September 23, Vedanta said Wednesday.

"It's important that the Tamil Nadu authorities respond to protests in accordance with global law, but they should also be addressing concerns raised about health and environmental harms", Ganguly said. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, said it was "state-sponsored terrorism".

Panneerselvam said he met 47 injured persons and consoled them, and received representations from them which will be fulfilled.

Rajinikanth, who hasn't yet made a formal entry into politics, said that the victory should be dedicated to the people who lost their lives during the protests. The decision to shut down the Sterlite plant and its implications for the industry at large is the topic of discussion on this India Development Debate. Palaniswami added that families of the victims would be offered one million rupees ($14,700) in compensation. The company moved the Appellate Authority against this, and the next hearing is on June 6.

Tamil Nadu is one of India's most industrialised and prosperous states, and similar protests over environmental concerns have turned deadly. Residents living in towns and villages nearby have long alleged that the plant had damaged their health, water, and environment. In 2013, the Supreme Court curiously found the company guilty of misrepresentation, unlicensed operation and polluting the environment, but allowed the company to operate after paying a small fine as it felt India needed the copper.

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