Students join growing Sterlite protest in Tuticorin

By PTI Published on Mar 27, 2018 11:00 AM IST

Tuticorin (Tamilnadu): Students have joined the protest by locals against Sterlite Copper, a unit of Vedanta, against its proposed expansion plant near here.

The protesters are contending that the effluent discharge from the existing plant contaminated groundwater and the expansion would further aggravate the situation.

DMK working president M K Stalin said permission must not be given to expansion of the Sterlite plant.

Students of VOC College and some other institutions here raised slogans against the copper unit yesterday, the police said.

Residents of A Kumarareddiyapuram, near the Sterlite unit, continued their protest in their village for the 43rd day yesterday against the expansion and the existing plant.

Anti-Sterlite Movement leader M Krishnamurthy said they would step up their stir with the support of more stakeholders like farmers. The movement had organised a protest on March 24 here against the copper producer and sought the closure of its over two-decade plant alleging air and ground pollution causing health hazards to the people.

A leading copper producer, Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000 tonnes per annum plant here. The company has said the plant had received the necessary regulatory clearances for expansion and its primary commitment was to ensure the development and well-being of all the communities around its operations.

"The smelter plant is self-reliant in terms of power and water requirements and will not use any nearby natural resources," it had said in a statement on 24 March.

British Tamils had yesterday held a protest demonstration outside the residence of Vedanta group chief Anil Agarwal in solidarity with protesters here.

Stalin, in a statement, sought immediate measures over "violations," by the existing copper unit. "If dangers for the soil and people of Tuticorin and nearby districts continue from Sterlite unit, steps should be taken for its permanent closure," he said.

CPI (M) state Secretary K Balakrishnan said the Central and State governments must take steps for the closure of the copper unit which has become a "challenge to the healthy life of the people".