Thoothukudi RDO inspects Sterlite copper plant

Thoothukudi revenue divisional officer (RDO) Prashant inspected ongoing expansion works at the Sterlite copper plant on Wednesday.

Thoothukudi: Thoothukudi revenue divisional officer (RDO) Prashant inspected ongoing expansion works at the Sterlite copper plant on Wednesday.

Following the mass agitation against the copper smelting plant going for an expansion of enhancing its capacity by four lakh tonnes per year in addition to the existing production capacity, the plant is said to have temporarily suspended its expansion work.

It was in this backdrop on Wednesday morning that the Thoothukudi RDO along with the Thoothukudi district engineer of the Tamil Nadu pollution control board and Ottapidaram tahsildar visited the Sterlite factory. According to revenue sources, the RDO inspected the expansion works and operation of the existing unit. He is also said to have verified documents related to the ongoing expansion works.

After about an hour, Thoothukudi RDO Prashant left the plant at around 1.15 pm to visit the surrounding villages where he met people and listened to their grievances. The official team too is reported to have taken groundwater samples from the villages.

Earlier, the day before the RDO's visit, the district collector is said to have summoned officials from Sterlite, heard about ongoing works and received all approval documents and NOCs issued by the state and the central government departments to prepare an official report to state government.

CPM to lay siege April 4
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) will lay siege to the private copper smelting plant Sterlite on April 4 in Thoothukudi.

Demanding the immediate suspension of its expansion work and closing down of the plant, state committee member of the CPI(M) Kanagaraj told media persons here that the mass protest of people was the result of the continuous protests of various social and political outfits including the CPI(M) for the last 25 years. He was critical of the 2013 Supreme Court order that let the plant function, stating that it could not intervene in the pollution controlboard norms of the state.

"However the Rs 100 crore fine imposed on the industry justified our stand that the company has indulged in serious violations of environmental norms," said Kanagaraj. When asked whether his party would go for a legal battle against Sterlite again, Kanagaraj said, "Though filing a case against the plant on medical grounds is possible, considering the 2013 verdict of the apex court we cannot completely rely upon the court alone."

The Left parties demanded an alternative job opportunity for employees, when the copper smelter plant was closed down in 2013. It is now reluctant to be taking up the plight of the employees.

As the Kumareddiyapuram villagers are agitating away from political parties, the CPI(M) leader said that his party would not disturb the people's movement even if they were not accepted. "We will take up our own agitations against the plant," he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story