Sterlite protests: Tamil Nadu cuts power to Thoothukudi copper plant
Tamil Nadu authorities say the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi, which was shut pending renewal of its licence, was found operating without permission
Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu): Tamil Nadu authorities on Thursday cut the power to the Sterlite copper plant run by Vedanta Resources in Thoothukudi after police shot and killed 13 people in protests against what they say is pollution generated by the plant.
Tamil Nadu pollution control board said the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi, which was shut pending renewal of its operating licence, was found last week to be carrying out activity to resume production without permission.
“The issue of renewal of consent for the year 2018-2023 has been rejected...due to non-compliance of certain conditions,” the TNPCB said in an order dated on Wednesday.
It did not elaborate on the conditions the Sterlite copper plant had not met but said it “shall be disconnected with power supply and closed with immediate effect”.
The agency told Vedanta it could not resume operations without permission.
On Tuesday, police opened fire on protesters demanding that the copper plant in the port city of Thoothukudi be shut down. In all, 13 protests have been killed this week.
Residents and environmental activists say emissions from the plant, India’s second biggest, are polluting the air and water, affecting people’s health.
The Sterlite copper plant has been shut for more than 50 days and had been ordered to stay closed until at least 6 June, pending environmental clearances.
Vedanta has denied that the copper plant has been polluting the air and water.
Reuters has sought comment from the company over the allegation that it was trying to resume production but a company spokesman was not immediately available for comment.