Priority to restore normalcy: Nanduri

Sandeep Nanduri, Thoothukudi’s new Collector, who assumed office on Thursday, said that the stand of state government is towards permanent closure of Vedanta Sterlite’s copper smelter and the first step towards it began with closure of the plant and stopping of electricity supply.
Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Gagandeep Singh Bedi and PWC Davidar check on injured people
Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Gagandeep Singh Bedi and PWC Davidar check on injured people

Thoothukudi

Addressing the media on Thursday evening, Nanduri, along with the recently appointed Thoothukudi SP Murali Ramba, IG (South Zone) Shailesh Kumar Yadav, Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Gagandeep Singh Bedi and Additional Chief Secretary PWC Davidar, stated that so far 13 had died and 102 were injured, including 19 who were severely injured. Among the 19, 14 persons had suffered gun shots wounds.
Not only the protesters but also 34 police personnel (including 10 women cops) sustained injuries. In the violence, 24 cars were burnt, out of which nine were government vehicles. Also, 74 bikes were burnt completely. In total 98 vehicles were torched. Additionally, 46 vehicles including 35 cars were burnt partially. The total value of the damage is Rs 1.27 crore. Properties in Thoothukudi Collectorate worth Rs 29 lakh were damaged, he said.
Nanduri added that all steps are being taken to restore normalcy in Thoothukudi. A meeting with traders was held and they agreed to open shops. Special arrangements have been made to keep Amma Canteens running round the clock for patients in Thoothukudi GH and all Aavin booths will be functional for milk supply to the public. Farm Fresh outlets would be working. The situation has been assessed and slowly, the bus service will be resumed in the coming days, assured the Collector.
He further said that state government is working towards permanent closure of Sterlite and it is the stand of the government. The first step is cutting the electricity supply and directing the company’s closure. However, the permanent closure of Sterlite’s plant can be decided only by the court, but the state government had done its best, said Nanduri. “Protesters must realise the steps taken by the government and should not indulge in the violence,” he added.
Speaking about the action taken on the protesters, Shailesh Kumar Yadav said that totally 64 cases were registered in connection to the Sterlite protest and firing incident. So far, 65 were remanded and an additional 68 persons were arrested, who will soon be remanded, said Yadav. When asked as the IG of the South Zone, did he know who sanctioned the orders for the Police shooting, he evaded the question. However, Davidar stepped in, stating, “As the incident is now investigated by a Judicial Commission, it will not be appropriate for him to comment on the issue.”
On illegal detention, Yadav refuted it stating that there were no illegal detentions and FIR had been booked against all those kept under custody. When asked about restoration of internet connection, Davidar avoided the question.

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