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India Covid crisis: Widespread protests over opening of Tamil Nadu oxygen plant

Web report/Thoothukudi
Filed on April 29, 2021
Photo: Reuters

The plant was shut down about three years ago, after 13 people protesting its operations, were killed in police firing.


The decision to allow Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper’s oxygen plant to operate has resulted in widespread protests in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, as local residents — especially relatives of those killed in the a May 2018 incident involving police firing — stand vehemently opposed to it.

The Anti-Sterlite People’s Confederation, which is among those spearheading the protests, observed a ‘black day’ on Thursday, protesting the government’s decision to reopen the plant.

Hari Raghavan, the confederation spokesperson, told the media that the company had exploited sentiments around the pandemic and had, through the Supreme Court, reopened the premises under the guise of producing oxygen.

Vedanta had moved the Supreme Court on an urgent basis and said it could produce a thousand tonnes of oxygen, which would be supplied free of charge to the states. The Tamil Nadu government, which was initially reluctant to allow the opening of the factory, finally relented.

Local officials had, however, warned the government that the people were opposed to the move. Many political parties in the state also do not want the plant to be reopened.

“Since all parties did not discuss the issue before the state government submitted its affidavit to the Supreme Court, the decision favouring Sterlite Copper should be scrapped,” demanded Raghavan.

The plant was shut down about three years ago, after 13 people protesting its operations, were killed in police firing.





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