Villagers seek reopening of Sterlite Copper

December 20, 2021 08:02 pm | Updated 08:02 pm IST

Villagers submitted petitions for reopening of Sterlite plant, at Thoothukudi Collectorate on Monday.

Villagers submitted petitions for reopening of Sterlite plant, at Thoothukudi Collectorate on Monday.

THOOTHUKUDI

Villagers from 14 hamlets in and around here submitted separate petitions on Monday appealing to the Tamil Nadu Government to ensure early reopening of Sterlite Copper in the best interest of their children.

Villagers from Lourdhammalpuram, Kovilpillai Nagar, Alangarathittu, Inigo Nagar, Madha Kovil Street, Annai Teresa Meenavar Colony, Sivagnanapuram, Panimaya Nagar, Ramar Vilai, John Xavier Nagar, Ayyanadaippu, Gopalsamy Nagar, Rajiv Nagar and Packiyanathanvilai submitted petitions in support of the immediate reopening of Sterlite Copper that remains closed since May 2018 after 13 persons were killed in police firing in the anti-Sterlite protest.

On behalf of Confederation of Sterlite Supporters, its office-bearers also submitted a petition to press the same demand. They said they were supporting the Sterlite Copper in the best interest of the country and employment growth.

Even though the copper manufacturing unit, which was spending a lot for community development since 1996, was closed down, it had given ₹ 60 crore towards scholarships for meritorious students, training and financial assistance for self-help groups and other community development activities like providing drinking water, healthcare, women development, anganvadi construction etc. in 2021 alone, they said.

“When the hospitals across Tamil Nadu were gasping for medical-grade oxygen to save COVID-19 patients with serious lung infection, over 2,000 tonne life-saving gas was supplied to the hospitals in 32 districts of Tamil Nadu. Hence, the closed down Sterlite Copper should be reopened in the best interest of the younger generation and rural development,” they said.

Salary arrears sought

The casual multipurpose sanitary workers, who were involved in anti-COVID operations when the viral infection was at its worse, submitted petition seeking their 6 month salary arrears and COVID-19 special incentive.

The petitioners said the casual multipurpose sanitary workers, who were hired through a private agency in June 2020 and posted in Thoothukudi Medical College Hospital to tackle COVID-19 outbreak, were not given their salary for 6 months i.e. between May and October last. Though several petitions were submitted to the TKMCH administration, no step was taken to give the salary arrears.

Moreover, the COVID-19 incentive of ₹ 15,000 was also not given to the casual multipurpose sanitary workers.

“Since we’re jobless now, our salary arrears and the incentive announced by the State Government should be given to us. Moreover, we should also be allowed to continue our work,” they appealed.

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