Chennai: Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday reiterated that the GO on permanently shutting Vedanta group's Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi is valid and strong enough and that no one can reopen the unit as all vital approvals (to the plant) have been cancelled.
Responding to DMK working president M. K. Stalin's plea for an Assembly resolution, Mr Palaniswami told the Assembly on Monday that the plant was shut permanently and no one could reopen it. Justifying the GO passed by his government, he said the government order was legally valid. “The plant cannot be opened. It is permanently closed and sealed. All permissions like boiler license and power connection were cancelled,” he said.
The CM also justified the police action on those who unleashed violence during the anti-Sterlite protest on May 22 and emphasised that “no government should encourage anti-social elements.” Recalling the violent incidents during the protest rally in Thoothukudi, especially hurling petrol bombs and beating up people with wooden logs and damaging public property, Mr. Palaniswami asked “are they general public? They are miscreants and anti-socials.”
Raising the issue after Question Hour, Mr Stalin who demanded a resolution in the Assembly on permanent closure of the plant and hiking solatium to police firing victims during anti-Sterlite protests to Rs 1 crore, sought the dropping of cases registered on people during the violence. M. Stalin claimed that the protesters were “not anti-socials, poisonous elements or terrorists.” Congress Legislature Party leader K. R. Ramasamy too echoed DMK's stand and demanded the withdrawal of cases.
The Chief Minister further said action would be taken based on the report submitted by the one-person Commission of Inquiry led by retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan.
Joining the CM, law minister C. Ve. Shanmugam, citing the case on the earlier Assembly resolution in 2011 recommending commutation of death sentence for Rajiv Gandhi assassins, said the issue went to court. “There is no point in merely passing resolution in the House. Even Tamil Nadu's 69 per cent reservation under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution which bars judicial review, went to court. Matters like legislation or resolution could be taken up by courts for review,” he added.
Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam said if Sterlite issue went to court, then it would be legally demonstrated that the closure was in tune with the state's powers.