A day after the Sterlite Copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi was sealed, the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOT) decided to take back 342.22 acres of land allotted to the Vedanta group in Thoothukudi for expansion.
In its order on Tuesday, the SIPCOT managing director said a series of agitations had been carried out against the expansion of the copper smelter plant (Phase II) by Vedanta in the SIPCOT industrial complex, “expressing concerns” about the pollution caused by the existing smelter plant.
“The people of the area have also been raising concern about their health on account of the operations of the plant,” it said.
As the allotment of land for the proposed expansion had been made by SIPCOT, “in larger public interest,” it is being cancelled, the order said. “The land price collected for the said land allotment will be refunded as per norms of SIPCOT,” the order added.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday said it would send a team of officers to investigate the May 22 police firing on protesters in Thoothukudi, which resulted in the death of 13 persons.
The NHRC said it had asked its Director-General (Investigation) to send a team, headed by an officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police, along with three officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police of the Investigation Division to visit the spot to conduct an inquiry.
Report in two weeks
“The NHRC team would leave forthwith and examine all concerned, including the family members of the victims and independent witnesses as it deems appropriate and submit a report to the Commission within two weeks,” the NHRC said in a statement. The NHRC said it gave the order after considering a representation made by a petitioner, A. Rajarajan, before the Delhi High Court, seeking an independent investigation by the Commission. The NHRC had also taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the firing, and issued notice to the State police and government on May 23, seeking reports in two weeks.