The Vedanta Group on Sunday directed all the people employed at its Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi to report to work on Monday, The Hindu reported. The Tamil Nadu government had closed down the plant in May after protests against it led to the deaths of 13 people.
An internal email circulated among Sterlite employees said company vehicles would pick them up from various places in Thoothukudi and take them to its residential quarters. Biometric machines have been installed at the plant to record attendance.
“Vedanta Chairperson [Anil Agarwal] wants this time to be utilised to building a new approach to all that we do in Sterlite Copper – concentrate on procurement, logistics, production process, commercial, marketing, housekeeping, business excellence, Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Relations, finance, Information Technology, maintenance, etc... all of you have to work on these aspects,” Sterlite Copper Chief Executive Officer P Ramnath told employees.
M Esakkiyappan, a spokesperson for Sterlite Copper, said the move was meant to ensure the employees were not kept idle for long. “The company has been paying them even though there is no work currently,” he said. “The management would discuss the future course of action. All activities will happen at clubhouses within the quarters.”
Vedanta has set up a “Twitter Response Force” to increase its outreach. An unidentified company spokesperson said its employees had been active on Twitter to dispel rumours about the plant. However, environmental activist Nityanand Jayaraman disputed this. “Nearly 300 Twitter handles have been identified so far,” he told The Hindu. “Their aim is to get ‘reopen Sterlite’ trending on Twitter. You find only as much truth in their content as you would find in advertising campaigns.”