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Thoothukudi people burst with joy as HC puts lid on Sterlite reopening
The people of Thoothukudi heaved a sigh of relief and celebrated on Tuesday as the Madras High Court rejected a plea by United Kingdom-based Vedanta Group seeking permission to reopen its Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant.
Activists of anti-Sterlite movement, functionaries of various political parties and environmental activists celebrated the HC verdict by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
Social media platforms, particularly the local WhatsApp groups, were overflowing with messages welcoming the verdict. The district administration and police too have expressed a sense of relief. Vanchinathan, lawyer and coordinator of Makkal Urimai Pathukappu Maiyam, while talking to reporters in Madurai, said the verdict was the most historically significant as all petitions filed by the Vedanta group against the closure of its plant have been dismissed by the High Court. The verdict justified the protest organised by people against the plant. Meanwhile, he questioned cine actor Rajinikanth’s silence over the verdict and asked whether the actor would react to it.
Edmond Thennavan, resident of Thoothukudi, said the verdict was a victory especially for those who shed their blood and sacrificed their lives during the deadly rally on May 22.
According to M Krishnamurthy, environmental activist, the verdict was certainly a victory for 23 years of struggle by people of Thoothukudi. Hailing the verdict, he said the state government should continue in its stand for the people of Thoothukudi even if the Sterlite Copper unit took the issue again to the Supreme Court, challenging the High Court order. In a step further, the state government should come forward and dismantle the plant for a permanent remedy to the people here, he said.
When the HC issued orders directing closure of the plant thrice earlier in 1998, 2010 and 2013, the Sterlite management moved the Supreme Court and achieved its desire after the SC sets aside the closure order.
Stalin: Hail HC order via Cabinet resolution
DMK president MK Stalin has urged Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to immediately convene a meeting of the state Cabinet and adopt a resolution welcoming the verdict of the Madras High Court which upheld the closure of the Copper Smelting Plant in Thoothukudi.
Stalin also advised the state to file a caveat in the Supreme Court to prevent the firm from obtaining an interim injunction against the HC verdict.
Welcoming the “extraordinary verdict” passed by the HC, which would save mankind, Stalin, said that CM Palaniswami should convene the meeting of the state Cabinet on Tuesday. “Now that a verdict favourable to the people has been passed, the government should make use of this good opportunity, adopt a Cabinet resolution and enact a legislation for the plant’s closure,” Stalin said.
Recalling the demand of Opposition to take a policy decision on the closure of the copper smelting plant, the DMK president said though the AIADMK regime shot people dead in an inhumane manner, the court has stood by the people and passed the humane verdict. Saluting the court’s conviction in public welfare and protection of environment, he added that it was worrisome that they have not got justice even two years after the killing. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he noted.