File photo of Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant, a unit of London-based Vedanta Resources, in Tuticorin, in Tamil Nadu. Photograph:( Reuters )
The Tamil Nadu government on Monday ordered the permanent closure of the Sterlite copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) following the death of 13 people in police firing during anti-Sterlite protests there last week.
The Sterlite plant in Tuticorin is owned and operated by the Vedanta group.
The Government Order (GO) said it endorsed the recent closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, and also asked the TNPCB to "seal the unit and close the plant permanently".
The document cited the Constitution's directive principles of state policy (Article 48-A) enjoining protection of environment and provisions of the Water Act, 1974, to order the permanent closure of the copper factory "in the larger public interest".
It referred to the PCB order of April 9 refusing to renew its consent to allow Vedanta's copper smelter plant at Tuticorin to operate.
The order recalled how on May 23 the TNPCB had issued directions for the closure of the unit and disconnection of power supply to it. The power supply was disconnected a day later.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the government has issued the GO in deference to the sentiments of the people.
The locals were protesting for the closure of the factory for 99 days. Protesters turned violent on May 22, the 100th day of their stir, and 13 people were killed in police action against them last Tuesday and Wednesday.
(With inputs from PTI)