Petitions submitted for and against operation of Sterlite Copper’s oxygen plant

The anti-Sterlite protestors submitted a petition to Collector K. Senthil Raj on Monday urging the State Government not to give permission for operating the Sterlite Copper’s oxygen plant beyond July 31.

Raising slogans against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper, the protestors, after assembling in front of the Collectorate, took out a march from the Thoothukudi – Palayamkottai National Highway towards the administrative building of the Collectorate. Representatives of the protestors and a few political parties including the MDMK, Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Naam Thamizhar, Thamizhaga Vaazhvurimai Katchi submitted a petition to Dr. Senthil Raj.

In the petition, the protestors said Sterlite Copper had approached the Supreme Court seeking permission for oxygen generation from its plant in the sealed copper smelter complex for six months even after July 31, up to which the permission has been granted as of now.

“The Tamil Nadu Government that gave permission for the operation of the oxygen plant up to July 31 considering the grave situation prevailing across the State after the pandemic, should oppose when the petition comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Chief Minister, as he had assured, should take steps for ensuring the permanent closure of Sterlite Copper and ensure stringent punishment for those who ‘hunted down’ the protestors on May 22, 2018,” the petition said.

As the anti-Sterlite protestors had gathered at the Collectorate for submitting the petition, the police, led by Superintendent of Police S. Jayakumar had enforced 5-tier security arrangements at the Collectorate and deployed riot control vehicle, Vajra.

Meanwhile, the Thoothukudi Contractors’ Association has submitted a petition to the State Government seeking permission for operating the Sterlite Copper’s oxygen plant for six months. In a petition submitted to Thangam Thennarasu, Minister for Industries, the Association president V. Kannan has said oxygen plant that generated 1,882.74 tonnes of medical oxygen had saved lives of thousands of critically ill COVID-19 patients in 32 districts even as giving employment to 300-odd workers. Hence, permission should be granted for the continuous operation of the oxygen plant besides giving permission for starting the maintenance works in the Sterlite Copper plant that remains sealed since May 2018 and it’s reopening.

Similar petition has been submitted by Thoothukudi Industrial Suppliers’ Association also.

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