Sterlite Copper closure order is legally valid: TN CM Palaniswami

Chennai, May 29 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.Palaniswami on Tuesday said the order issued by the state government shutting down the Sterlite Copper plant is legally valid and blamed the DMK for the violence in Thuthookudi on May 22.

Speaking in the assembly, he said the Government Order closing down the Sterlite Copper’s smelter plant in Thuthookudi is valid as the Central Pollution Control Board has not issued any order contrary to it.

Popularly known as the Sterlite plant, the Sterlite Copper is a 400,000 tpa copper smelter plant owned by Vedanta Ltd.

Palaniswami also said it was the DMK government that gave the nod for expansion of smelter capacity.

Citing the action taken by the government before the May 22 police firing on the anti-Sterlite protestors, he said the government had held 14 rounds of talks with the members of the movement.

Palaniswami said a crowd numbering around 20,000 people tried to march to Thuthookudi collectorate and police resorted to baton charge on May 22.

He said DMK leader Geetha Jeevan defying the prohibitory orders staged an agitation when the violence broke as the protestors were instigated by some political parties and anti-social elements.

Thirteen people were killed in the police firing on anti-Sterlite Copper protestors as they turned violent and indulged in arson.

For more than two decades, the people of Thuthookudi have been protesting against the copper smelter plant.

Following the death of 13 persons in the police firing, the Tamil Nadu government orderd closure of the smelter plant.

Not satisfied with the closure order, major opposition party DMK decided to boycott the state assembly sessions until the Tamil Nadu cabinet takes a policy decision to shut down the Sterlite Copper smelter plant.

In a statement issued by the party, Whip R. Chakrapani said the Palaniswami government issued an order closing down the copper smelter plant without convening a cabinet meeting and taking a policy decision.

Contending this would enable the company to seek relief from the courts, he alleged that the Chief Minister was not sincere about shutting down the plant.

The DMK lawmakers on Tuesday attended the Assembly wearing black shirts to condemn the May 22 police firing.
(IANS)

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