The Tamil Nadu government today cancelled the land allotment to the Vedanta group's copper plant in Tuticorin after unrest in the state assembly with opposition DMK deciding to boycott the proceedings until the unit was “permanently shut”.
"As the allotment of land for the proposed expansion has been made by SIPCOT, in larger public interest, the land allotment made by SIPCOT for proposed expansion of copper smelter plant (Phase-2) by Vedanta Ltd is hereby cancelled," the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu said in its communication to the Vedanta group.
The cancellation of land allotment for the proposed expansion of the Sterlite Copper plant came a day after the government ordered the state Pollution Control Board to “seal and permanently close” the existing unit. The police department, meanwhile, transferred the case involving last week's police firing that led to the deaths to the CB-CID, a senior official told PTI.
“The cancellation of allotment of 342.22 acres of land has been made in larger public interest and this has been communicated to the company,” Vedanta said in its communication to the stock exchanges.
The killing of 13 people in police action against Sterlite protesters on May 23 rocked the state assembly, which met after a gap of over two months to pass the budgetary demands of different departments. Members of the main opposition DMK staged a demonstration saying they would boycott the proceedings until the unit was shut permanently. Chief Minister K Palaniswami, meanwhile, put up a strong defence of his government and police, insisting the action had become “unavoidable”.
DMK members wore black shirts as a mark of protest and shouted anti-government slogans in the legislature complex. Working president of the party M K Stalin claimed that the government order to seal the copper plant was an “eyewash and a drama”. He added that it was done to enable the Sterlite management to approach the court and seek relief, like it did when the plant was ordered to be shut in 2013. Stalin then walked out of the House along with other DMK lawmakers, shouting slogans demanding the chief minister's resignation.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, meanwhile, visited the families of those killed in police firing and met the injured at a government hospital at Tuticorin.