Anti-Sterlite protests: Madras High Court halts plant expansion a day after bloodshed in Thoothukkudi

By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 23 May 2018 12:19 PM
Chennai: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered a stay on the expansion of the Sterlite Plant in Thoothukudi. The development comes immediately after the Home Ministry sought a report from Tamil Nadu government over the incident in which  11 people were killed yesterday in police firing while protesting protests against Sterlite industries.

Reports said around a dozen people were injured in the protests. Nearly 30 vehicles were torched by protesters who vandalised the collectorate at Thoothukkudi (Tuticorin), about 600km from Chennai.

Stertlite Copper is owned by Vedanta, one of the world's largest natural resources companies. The plant provides 10 per cent of Tuticorin port's cargo and employs 1,300 workers.

According to the Telegraph, the state pollution control board had on April 9 denied the 20-year-old Sterlite Copper plant's application for a licence renewal and it had stopped operating. But the protesters, agitating since February, feared this was a temporary stoppage and were demanding it be shut down permanently. More than 20,000 people, including a large number of fishermen, marched towards the collectorate on Tuesday, alleging the factory was causing illness and had contaminated the groundwater, affecting farming within a 50km radius.

Sterlite claims it complies with every environmental norm and has suggested some other factories in the neighbourhood may be amiss.

Many non-DMK, non-AIADMK groups joined the agitation, including pro-Eelam Tamil nationalist outfits, environmental activists and actor Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam. The DMK has called for an all party protest on May 25 over the matter.


On Wednesday, Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan met the injured at General Hospital in #Thoothukudi. However, he had to face ire from the relatives of the victims who told him, 'we are facing difficulties due to your visit. Please leave from here.'

Speaking to reporters about the incident, Haasan said, "We must know who ordered this firing. It is not me but the victims who are demanding this. Merely announcing compensation isn't a solution. This industry must be shut & this is what people demand."