Sterlite Copper Chief Executive Officer P Ramnath said on Wednesday that the closure of the Thoothukudi plant in Tamil Nadu will cost the parent company, Vedanta, a loss of up to $210 million (Rs 1,408 crore) per month, PTI reported. Last month, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the permanent closure of the plant after 13 people participating in a protest against it were killed in police firing on May 22.

Ramnath told a press conference in New Delhi that the company sells about 30,000 tonnes of refined copper every month, at an average price of $7,000 (Rs 4.69 lakh) per tonne. “It is not just loss for the company, it is loss for both the society and the consumers,” he said. “There were around 3,500 people who were dependent on us. How will they be taking care of their families now? Their savings, if they have any, will last how long?”

The chief executive also claimed that the Sterlite Copper unit did not emit “even one kilo” of sulphur dioxide. He said the emissions were much below the limits set by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

“If you compare the amount of sulphur dioxide we emit, of the total sulphur dioxide being emitted from rest of the plants in Tuticorin, our contribution is just 1%. The 99% emission of is being done by power plants there,” he added. Ramnath claimed that the vested interests of non-governmental organisations could have been behind the protests, as the government had stopped their funding under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

State asks Madras High Court to cancel bail to protestors

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government on Wednesday asked the Madras High Court to cancel bail a lower court had granted to at least 65 protestors in Thoothukudi, since the court had not issued a notice to the prosecution before approving bail, The Hindu reported.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has issued notices to three deputy tehsildars who had reportedly ordered the police to fire at the demonstrators on May 22 and 23.

DMK stages walkout from Assembly

Meanwhile, the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam walked out of the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday, after Speaker P Dhanapal denied its Working President MK Stalin permission to speak about the Thoothukudi protests, PTI reported. Later, Chief Minister K Palaniswami asked the DMK to approach the one-man commission headed by retired Madras High Court Judge Aruna Jagadeesan.