MDMK to challenge Supreme Court order on Sterlite – seriously ?


MDMK leader Vaiko addressing the media outside the Supreme Court in connection with the Sterlite Industries issue, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: S. Subramanium
S_SubramaniumMDMK leader Vaiko addressing the media outside the Supreme Court in connection with the Sterlite Industries issue, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

MDMK on Tuesday said that it would challenge the Supreme Court’s order asking Sterlite Industries, a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta Group, to pay Rs. 100 crore as compensation for polluting the environment and vowed to continue its fight against restarting the operations.

The Apex Court, while directing Sterlite to pay the amount as compensation, had, however, refused to direct its closure.

“We are staging a battle and we will continue to do so. I will file an appeal in the Supreme Court”, a party statement quoted Vaiko as having told reporters in New Delhi.

The MDMK leader recalled that Maharashtra had cancelled the license of Sterlite Industries plant in Ratnagiri district a few years ago after villagers damaged the facility. “In Tamil Nadu we did not indulge in such activities. We are fighting for peace in a non-violent way.”

People’s suffering

Alleging that a large number of people were affected by cancer and other diseases and thousands of acres damaged due to the pollution from the plant, Mr. Vaiko sought to know why lives of the local people should be endangered just to bring revenue to the Government (through the plant).

He claimed that Supreme Court’s order would not control the closure notice given by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on March 30.

The Apex Court had refused to direct closure of the plant and had set aside the Madras High Court’s 2010 order on closing it down.

 

DOWNLOAD FULL JUDGEMENT HERE

Relief marks shutting of #Vedanta unit #goodnews


31 March 2013

shivani chaturvedi, Statesman

CHENNAI, 31 MARCH: The closure of the Thoothukudi unit of Sterlite Industries yesterday has brought great relief to environmental activists of Tamil Nadu and residents of Thoothukudi (formerly known as Tuticorin).

The copper smelter plant owned by Sterlite Industries has affected the livelihoods of the fishermen, farmers and other sections of the population through unprecedented level of pollution.

Mr Vaiko, the leader of the MDMK, has been campaigning for the closure of this polluting unit since 1997.

The closure of the Thoothukudi unit of Sterlite Industries comes just two days before the apex court is to deliver its verdict on an appeal filed by the Sterlite Industries challenging the 2010 order of the Madras High Court directing the closure of the unit on a petition filed by Mr Vaiko and others. They had complained to the court that the unit was discharging noxious effluent which devastated the entire environment by polluting sea, land and air in the region.

The plant has been closed following the order issued by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in reply to the complaint by the town’s residents that the sulphur dioxide emitted by the company was much higher than the permissible levels. Since 23 March this year, people in and around Thoothukudi have been complaining of suffocation, sneezing and burning sensation in the eyes due to large scale discharge of sulphur dioxide.

However, a press note from the company claimed that the plant adhered to the highest standards of environment, health and safety practices.

The factory, which began production in 1996 has an installed capacity to produce 4,00,000 tonnes of copper per year. It has a regular workforce of 1,000 and 3,000 contract workers.

#India- Peoples Victory- STERLITE COPPER CLOSED #goodnews


Sterlite Copper Closed
30 March, 2013 — The Tamil Nadu Government has relented to public pressure and shut down Sterlite Industriescopper complex today. According to a worker, officials from 10 government departments arrived by the vanload in the plant last night at 8 p.m. The management then called a meeting of all staff and workers, and announced that the plant was shutting down. Sterlite requested time till about 12 midnight for phased closure, and this was conceded by the Government. By 1210 a.m. all plants except the smelter were shut down. Electricity connection to the copper complex has been disconnected.

On March 28, 2013, more than 5000 people from Thoothukudi — led by the Anti Sterlite People’s Struggle Committee — marched towards Sterlite to shut down the plant. Nearly 1000 people were arrested. The rally was prompted by a toxic gas leak on March 23. Sterlite has been a controversial company since the time that it was proposed in 1994. In its 20 years of operation, it has been shut down twice by the Madras High Court — once by way of an interim order, and in September 2010 through a final order. Sterlite appealed the High Court’s closure order in the Supreme Court, and the plant that was shut down last night was operating on leave from the Supreme Court.

A verdict on the Supreme Court case is expected on 2 April, 2013.

SC to decide fate of Sterlite’s Tuticorin plant Tuesday
By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court will Tuesday (April 2) pronounce its verdict on the fate of the Sterlite Industries’ copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu‘s Tuticorin, which was ordered to halt its operations in 2010 by Madras High Court for violating environment norms.

The verdict will be pronounced by a bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice H.L. Gokhale.

Sterlite, which had described the high court order as “draconian”, had told the apex court that it was a public limited company with 2.3 lakh shareholders, 1,100 employees, 2,500 people employed indirectly and an annual turn over of Rs.13,000 crore.

It said the company was meeting 50 percent of the domestic requirements of copper and was contributing Rs.1,600 crore by way of taxes. Sterlite Industries was the largest manufacturer of copper in the country and even exported it, it added.

In the course of the hearing that was spread over several weeks, the apex court had asked the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to carry out detailed inspection of the plant and its site.

CPCB counsel Vijay Panjvani said Sterlite spent Rs.150 crore for putting in place new pollution control devices to overcome the deficiencies in its pollution control measures as suggested to it by different agencies mandated to protect the environment.

The Madras High Court by its Sep 28, 2010 order had directed the immediate closure of the plant, nut the apex court, by its interim order of Oct 1, 2010, stayed its operation.

Besides the closure, the high court had also directed the payment of compensation to Sterlite’s employees as per the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act.

Tuticorin’s district collector was also directed to take all necessary and immediate steps for the re-employment of the workers in some other companies, factories or organizations.

Challenging the high court order, Sterlite Industries contended that it was passed on a PIL filed in 1994, pointing to then alleged deficiencies in the compliance of the statutory environmental provisions.

It said that though the hearing on the PIL was concluded in January 2010, it was eight months after on Sep 28, 2010, that the high court passed the order directing the immediate shut down of the company.

While ordering the plant’s closure, the high court had noted that it was within 25 km of an ecologically fragile area

 

#India – Sterlite worker succumbs to gas leak, residents demand plant closure


March 26th, 2013, tnlabour.in

Thoothukudy, March 25, 2013: One worker, reportedly a 35-year old man from Bihar, succumbs to effects of gas exposure following a poisonous gas leak from front of the Sterlite Copper Smelter on 23rd March 2013. The body of the deceased hospital was kept in the mortuary of the government hospital even as SIPCOT Police Station officials stated that they had no intimation of the worker’s death. According to other workers, the deceased worker was working in Sterlite’s captive power plant across the highway from the smelter. Following the gas leak, he reportedly complained of suffocation and subsequently collapsed. With this incident, Sterlite has witnessed 3 hazardous events this month resulting in at least 2 deaths and 1 serious injury. Irate Thoothukudy residents led by political leader Vaiko staged a demonstration at the District Collector’s office, demanding closure of the copper smelter. Vaiko has announced a march from the city to the Sterlite gates on 28th March, with a single point demand seeking closure of the plant.

The company which was shut down by the Madras High Court in September 2010 is currently operating on leave granted by the Supreme Court.

 

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