Tamil Nadu deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam keeping in mind the demands of the people declared today that the Vedanta group’s Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin has been ordered to be shut down permanently.
The Sterlite plant in Tuticorin has been in the news for quite some time now following the large-scale violence on May 22 during protests for the same.
How it affects the localities
The nearest village of Silverpuram located within 3 km from the plant consists of each household having at least one cancer patient.
This village of 2000 people has been surveyed to show 60 households with cancer patients. Nearby water bodies have been examined and show neurotoxins like lead with up to 52 times above the safe limit by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.
Effluents and gypsum have contaminated the groundwater of the village, making the water in wells and tubewells unfit for use even for washing purposes as the water is discolored.
The villagers now depend on the piped water supply that is irregular.
Violations by the Sterlite plant
It has been categorized under the red hazardous large industry. That is, it is illegal to be located at a distance of 1.5 km from Tuticorin, close to human habitation.
A 25-feet wide green belt is compulsory around the plant which Sterlite has not built.
Sterlite has increased its production from 40,000 tonnes to 4 lakh tonnes in 21 years. But it has again violated the laws by not proportionately raising the chimney heights. Ideally, the chimney height should have been of 123 meters but they stand at the same 60 meters since 1996, the year of its launch.
G.O. issued by the government
The Tamil Nadu government issued a G.O. today to “permanently close” the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi after protests took a violent form killing 13 people in a police open fire. The protesters were marching to the Collectorate demanding the closure of the plant.
Soon enough, officials in Thoothukudi sealed the unit. “We have sealed this plant as per the directions of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu”, said Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palinaswamy said the decision was a succession of the late Jayalalithaa’s order in 2013 to shut down Sterlite. It was then hindered by the National Green Tribunal that allowed the resumption of work in the plant with certain norms.
The local people are the worst sufferers in this blame game of politics as it has been almost a decade since cancer has been permeating in the households. They now await an analytical study of this recurring cancer in the village.
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