THOOTHUKUDI: National Green Tribunal’s interim award, allowing employees to access the administrative office at SIPCOT has brought much-needed relief to them. However, there is no rejoice, as they are getting ready to return to their offices after three months. Sterlite’s 1,100 permanent employees and 3,000 contract labourers lost jobs after the unit’s closure on May 28. The May 22 and May 23 violence and the subsequent police firing took a heavy toll on the staff and workers when the protests spilled over to the residential quarters. Many left to evade the mob.
Sources said that Sterlite reached out to the permanent employees a month ago to convey the struggle to operate the unit and exhort the sceptical staffers. The employees registered their attendance every morning and evening by punching the biometric attendance device at residential quarters. “This exercise was aimed at instilling hope among employees as they were paid for the time since the unit was not operational. Over 900 employees returned to the residential quarters,” said an employee seeking anonymity. Meanwhile, the employees believe the interim order has come in their favour and are getting ready to return to their offices.
NGT’s interim relief rattles activists
Though rattled by the interim relief awarded by the NGT to Sterlite Copper to access its administrative office, the agitators are not entirely surprised as they felt that it followed a pattern. The NGT on Thursday granted interim relief while hearing the Vedanta’s plea on challenging a GO on permanent closure. The NGT also rejected the TN government’s submission on maintainability of the case. Further, the green panel directed the TNPCB to submit data on the impact of the pollution surrounding the Sterlite plant within 10 days.
Unit will not be reopened: Kadambur C Raju
A day after the NGT allowed administrative access to Sterlite Copper, Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur C Raju said that there was no chance of the unit reopening. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami would consult with the legal experts and appeal against the NGT direction, he added.