Employees of Sterlite Industries India Limited here turned up for work as usual on Wednesday. The Madras High Court on Tuesday had ordered immediate closure of the copper smelting plant.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board cut power supply to the Sterlite unit following the court order.

The factory has a workforce of 931, including 104 women, and 558 employees reported for work on Wednesday as per their shift timings at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., besides a general shift (from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.). Sources said that employees would report for the night shift from 10 p.m.

According to Francis Reegan, associate trainee, HR department, nobody was prevented from entering the factory.

Members of Anti-Sterlite Movement said that functioning of the unit amounted to contempt of court. The movement, which staged a demonstration for the closure of the copper smelter unit, urged the district administration to ensure that operations were wound up. Hailing the court verdict, some of them defaced name boards of the company.

A Sterlite Industries statement said: ?Writ petitions were filed in the year 1996-1998 in the Madras High Court challenging the environmental clearance and against the setting up of the copper smelting plant in Tuticorin. The High Court, by its interim order on April 30, 1999, permitted the company to operate the plant at its rated capacity. The company has been running the plant since then after getting requisite approvals from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

?The writ petitions were finally heard in January-February 2010 and orders reserved. We understand that an order has been passed by the High Court on Tuesday ordering closure of the plant. The company is awaiting full text of the order so as to decide on necessary recourse measures.?

It further said that the Tuticorin smelter has been operating for more than 12 years in compliance with rules and regulations. It employed the ISA smelt process, considered globally as an environmentally advanced technology.