Vedanta Limited, a mining firm that owns the Sterlite Copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi, on Monday submitted 45,000 letters in favour of the copper smelter to a committee formed by the National Green Tribunal, reported The News Minute.
The letters were submitted when the three-members committee held a hearing at the National Green Tribunal Chennai bench on Vedanta’s petition to reopen the plant. On Sunday, the committee members visited the copper smelter plant.
During the hearing, counsel for Vedanta Limited claimed that an order issued by the state government directing the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to close the plant was arbitrary and violated norms, reported Deccan Chronicle. The counsel argued that the closure order was issued without obtaining the company’s opinion and it was arbitrary.
Sterlite Copper’s Public Relations Officer M Esakkiappan said stakeholders approached the company after the plant was shut down and said they were “adversely affected by the move”. “They wanted a way to ensure that the plant was reopened and asked how they can oppose the move,” The News Minute quoted him as saying. “We discussed this and then leaders from every village began collecting letters from residents who didn’t want the plant to shut down. We demanded that a copy of the Aadhaar card be given with the submissions to prevent duplication.”
Esakiappan said the letters they received were from villagers, employees, contract workers, contractors, truckers associations, farmer associations and other stakeholders. Esakiappan also claimed that anti-Sterlite protestors on Monday abused and turned away around 4,000 people who wanted to submit their petitions in favour of the plant.