THOOTHUKUDI: Anti-Sterlite activists, headed by retired professor Fatima Babu, submitted a petition to the District Collector Sandeep Nanduri condemning the efforts being taken to reopen Sterlite Copper.
Referring to advertisements issued by the copper smelter officials and statements of the corporate officials, the activists warned the state government that there would be another severe protest if the plant is reopened.
“It is disheartening to know that Sterlite, which was permanently closed by state government on May 23, is trying to resume operations. After losing 15 lives during protest on May 22 and 23, the company restarting operations can never be accepted,” Babu said.
“Even the Centre’s report had revealed the fact that the groundwater surrounding the copper smelter is badly contaminated. The unit has been closed permanently on account of policy decision. In this backdrop, initiating backdoor efforts to reopen the unit amounts to breaching the government order,” she claimed.
Activist Raja cautioned that if the copper smelter is reopened, a big protest would explode.
Babu said that initially, the police did their best to prevent her and the other activists from entering the Collectorate campus for submitting the petition against Sterlite. However, they allowed many to submit petitions seeking reopening of the unit, she remarked. Raja said that the South police had served a summon to meet the police officer on Monday for an enquiry.
The activists appealed to the Collector to file a case against the unit for advertising even as the unit was permanently shut.
“What is the credibility of the government order when the unit is trying to restart its operation?” Babu questioned.
In his reply, the Collector said that the unit has been permanently closed out of policy decision and there is hardly a chance of restarting operations.
200 work inside unit despite ban
Over 200 Sterlite employees have been allowed inside the premises to assist in the acid evacuation process even though the court had denied them permission. Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that the employees were allowed inside based on recommendations of the High Powered Committee.