A large number of employees and contract labourers of Sterlite Copper, Tuticorin approached the Pollution Control Board office in Sipcot area here on Saturday and submitted petition seeking revival of the company. According to the petition, approximately 3,000 employees working with Sterlite Copper would be adversely impacted with their livelihoods along with their families due to the closure of the unit. More than 10, 000 families associated indirectly with Sterlite would also be affected severely. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board should ponder over the difficulties of the workforce and reconsider its decision to continue operations in the unit in support of their livelihoods, the petition adds.
Activists hail order
Celebrating the shutdown order, those from the Anti-Sterlite Movement and various political party activists welcomed the government’s decision. The event was marked by bursting crackers near Rajaji Park on Palayamkottai road, Tuticorin old bus station, Tuticorin old Corporation office and on Beach Road by fishermen associations.
Fathima Babu, convener, Veeranganai People’s Movement, expressed joy over the move.
U. Natarajan, general secretary, Tuticorin Town Centralized Merchants Association, said it was a welcome relief for people and said the closure should be permanently effective.
Closure of many shops in Tuticorin town on March 28, when a mass protest demonstration led by MDMK’s Vaiko here against Sterlite led to this impact, Mr. Natarajan, said.
S. Xavier Vas, president, Fishermen United Front, Tuticorin, hailed the closure and thanked the District Collector and other government authorities.
A. Subash Fernando, district secretary, National Forum for Environmental Protection, said an expert committee should be constituted to ascertain damages caused to marine wealth and farm lands from pollution emanated from Sterlite and the company had to extend compensations due to affected parties, necessarily.
R. Subramaniya Adhityan, President, Tuticorin Bar Association, said in support of public demands for closure of Sterlite, a resolution was passed unanimously at General Body meeting convened here on Thursday. It should be moved away from Tamil Nadu, he said. K.P. Perumal, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, CPI (M), said cultivable lands in Saminatham, Kumarettiyapuram, Therkku Veerapandiapuram, Nainarpuram and Sillankulam turned infertile in the wake of the company’s establishment.
The state unit of the CPI(M) on Saturday demanded permanent closure of the Sterlite factory in Tuticorin to ensure that water, air and environment were saved from a great disaster.