Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday ordered that the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi district be permanently shut down, NDTV reported. The order comes days after 13 people were killed in police firing in the district during protests against the Vedanta Group’s plant.
“Under sections of the Water Act, 1974, in the larger public interest, the government endorses the closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and also directs the board to seal the unit and close the plant permanently,” the order read.
In April, the state pollution board rejected the company’s application to renew its licence for the copper plant after its Consent to Operate expired on March 31.
For more than two decades, activists in Thoothukudi have accused Sterlite of contaminating the region’s air and water resources, causing breathing disorders, skin diseases, heart conditions and cancer. Since February, there have been large-scale protests in Thoothukudi, where the Sterlite runs the copper smelter with the capacity to produce 4.38 lakh tonnes of anodes per annum, or 1,200 tonnes per day.