Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi: Madras High Court halts construction of new copper smelter plant

The Madras High Court's Madurai bench Wednesday on Wednesday has stayed the construction of Sterlite's new copper smelter plant at the Toothukudi unit.

Eleven people have been killed so far in police firing during protests against the construction of the new copper unit in the area citing environmental and health concerns. According to ANIthe interim order is set to be delivered later on Wednesday.


The protests demanding the closure the copper unit in took a violent turn on Tuesday with agitators pelting stones and toppling police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant.

Police said nearly 5,000 protesters gathered near a local church and insisted on taking out a rally to the district collectorate after they were denied permission to march to the copper smelter plant.

Protests in Toothukudi turned violent on Tuesday. PTI

Protests in Thoothukudi turned violent on Tuesday. PTI

Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) has been invoked in the area for better security as per the orders of the Madras High Court, said police.

While more than 20 people suffered minor injuries in stone-pelting incident, some vehicles were set on fire, leading to tension in the area, they added. Meanwhile, a peaceful demonstration was held near the old bus stand in the town, also demanding the closure of the Sterlite unit and the proposed expansion of the plant.

Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest, according to the police.

The district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant and its proposed expansion. Protesters have alleged that the plant was polluting groundwater in their area. Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 4,00,000 tonnes per annum-plant in Thoothukudi .

With inputs from PTI

 


Updated Date: May 23, 2018 19:26 PM

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