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COVID-19 update | Locals oppose plan to reopen Vedanta's copper smelter plant in Tamil Nadu for oxygen production

Though the Union government had supported the Vedanta's recent move on April 22, the state government had opposed to it. The state government had then asked the Thoothukudi administration to conduct a public hearing and send its report on April 23, so that they can submit an affidavit before the Supreme Court.

April 23, 2021 / 05:23 PM IST
A private security guard stands in front of the main gate of Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant in Tuticorin

A private security guard stands in front of the main gate of Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant in Tuticorin

Amid a massive spike in oxygen demand for COVID-19 patients, local people in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi on April 23 opposed any move to allow Vedanta’s sealed Sterlite Copper plant to resume operations to produce oxygen.

Reports claimed the locals were opposing the operation of copper smelter unit at SIPCOT Industrial Complex, which has remained idle since May 2018 after 13 anti-Sterlite protesters were killed in a police firing. People opposing the resumption of operations even heckled and chased away some of those who supported Vedanta, reported The Hindu.

Vedanta ready to supply oxygen for COVID-19 patients, writes to Tamil Nadu CM

Meanwhile, Sterlite Copper chief executive officer Pankaj Kumar had earlier submitted an appeal to the state government and requested the permission to operate its oxygen plant alone at the copper smelter complex. The firm claims to supply 1,050 tonnes of oxygen per day to hospitals. The firm also moved to the Supreme Court with its offer.

Though the Union government had supported the Vedanta's recent move on April 22, the state government had opposed to it. The state government had then asked the Thoothukudi administration to conduct a public hearing and send its report on April 23 so that they can submit an affidavit before the Supreme Court.

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For this, the local administration called for a public hearing for selected people -- both in favour of and against -- at the collectorate, chaired by Collector K. Senthil Raj.

During the public hearing, as per reports, heated arguments took place and majority of public did not approve Sterlite’s plea for resumption of operations for oxygen production. They were of the opinion that there was no dearth of medical oxygen in the state and that the plant must remain closed.
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