An all-party meeting convened by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday unanimously resolved to temporarily allow Vedanta’s sealed Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi to produce oxygen alone for four months, albeit with conditions.
Considering the need for oxygen and the prevailing COVID-19 situation, it was resolved that the temporary permit may be extended later on, an official release said. The meeting decided that production of copper or the operation of any other units would not be allowed in the plant under any circumstances.
“Tamil Nadu should be given priority in the [usage of] oxygen produced at the plant. After fulfilling the oxygen needs of Tamil Nadu, the supply could be provided to other States,” said another resolution adopted at the meeting.
“After a specific period, the power supply from Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (Tangedco) would be disconnected,” according to a resolution.
The parties favoured allowing technicians only in the area where oxygen would be produced. “The State government would ensure necessary safety measures. Under any circumstances, any unit other than those producing oxygen would not be allowed.” The meeting also resolved to constitute a monitoring committee to be headed by the District Collector to supervise oxygen production in the plant.
Superintendent of Police, Sub Collector, Thoothukudi, engineers from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, two experts to be nominated by the State government, members of the general public from the area/environment experts from NGOs and three anti-Sterlite activists would be part of the panel that “would decide on operating the plant producing oxygen.”
Deputy CM O. Panneerselvam, Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar and Revenue Minister R.B. Udhayakumar were present at the meeting. DMK MPs Kanimozhi and R.S. Bharathi represented their party in the meeting. Congress leaders K.V. Thangkabalu and K. Jayakumar, BJP’s L. Murugan and T.K. Raghavan, CPI (M)’s K. Balakrishnan and A. Soundararajan, CPI’s R. Mutharasan and M. Veerapandian, PMK’s Radhakrishnan and A. Ganesh Kumar, DMDK’s S. Anburaj and V.T. Balaji were also present in the meeting to record the views of their respective parties.
Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan, Director-General of Police J.K. Tripathy, Finance Secretary S. Krishnan, Revenue Secretary Atulya Misra, Commissioner of Revenue Administration K. Phanindra Reddy, Environment Secretary Sandeep Saxena, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, Industries Secretary N. Muruganandam and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board chairman A.V. Venkatachalam were also present at the all-party meeting.