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In public hearing, plan to reopen Sterlite plant faces opposition

The matter had earlier come before the Supreme Court after Vedanta had sought an urgent hearing, with the company promising that it could produce oxygen if their plant was allowed to reopen.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
April 24, 2021 2:39:03 am
Thoothukudi protests, ThoothukudiLocals staged a protest saying they don’t want the oxygen supplied by Vedanta company.

A public hearing called by the Thoothukudi district administration on Friday to gather opinion about a proposal to reopen Vedanta’s sealed Sterlite Copper plant to produce medical oxygen ended with strong opposition from majority of the people.

The matter had earlier come before the Supreme Court after Vedanta had sought an urgent hearing, with the company promising that it could produce oxygen if their plant was allowed to reopen. On Thursday, the Central government also supported the idea, though the Tamil Nadu government was against it.

Subsequently, the Thoothukudi administration was asked to conduct a public hearing and send its report on Friday to prepare the affidavit before the Supreme Court.

District Collector K Senthil Raj said the meeting was to elicit the view of stakeholders. “They were against the idea. They opposed it. I have reported the same to the state government,” he told The Indian Express.

The prime question at the meeting was whether local residents were in agreement to reopen the plant for oxygen production. However, a senior official who attended the meeting said the majority of people opposed it. “There were some who supported it but most of them sounded firm against reopening the plant,” the official said.

When asked if there is a judicial order to facilitate the reopening of the plant for oxygen production, the reply was that the move would then be to “dismantle the entire factory, and after that only, the state government may take control of the remaining portion for the oxygen production alone.”

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