‘The closure of Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin was unsubstantial and against natural Justice’, said the report from a special commitee that was formed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to carry out an independent probe into the matter. Earlier this year, Tamil Nadu Government had closed down Tuticorin copper plant following intense protests from various groups.
A bench headed by the NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, has directed both the Tamil Nadu Government and Sterlite Copper’s parent company Vedanta group to submit their responses to the report within a week.
From the very beginning, the Vedanta Group has maintained that the closure was undemocratic, as they were not provided an opportunity to put forward their views. In August, Vedanta challenged the closure of the plant at NGT, following which the special commitee was formed to consider the matter. The Bench had said that the committee was constituted to ascertain “whether a credible mechanism” can be adopted to address the issue.
The experts believe the report to be a major setback for the Tamil Nadu Government, that had bowed down to the protests that were primarily orchestrated over unfounded allegations and rumors about side-effects of the plant.
After this report from an independent body which explicitly says that the closure of the plant was “unsubstantial,” one may wonder, who is to be held responsible for the deaths of 13 people during the Anti-Sterlite protests at Tuticorin? Who will be answerable to the miseries of the families of the deceased. Thousands of people involved with the Tuticorin copper plant or other copper related industries in Tamil Nadu, were left without a livelihood.
While those who spearheaded the movement are enjoying a lavish lifestyle, residing in five star hotels. Objectionable videos of some of these people who led the movement, have also come out in recent days. Is this what activism has come down to? Shutting down corporate based on rumors just so that a bunch of people gain from it?
The most affected ones from the protest are the daily wagers, the local businesses, the employees. After this judgement, it has become clear that this protest was carried forward with vested interest. The innocent people of Tamil Nadu have been emotionally instigated using Tamil pride to protest. If this pattern continues, one can very well see the state go down!
Media reports in last one year prior to plant’s closure had suggested that how some people with vested interests were trying to instigate the locals against the plant. This, however does not give a clean-chit to the Sterlite either. Whether the copper plant had any side effects on the locals or not, is something which needs to be contested and argued in a proper forum such as the NGT.
Moreover, it appears that the common people are the ones to be most affected by the closure.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.