Chennai, Nov 28 (IANS) The ruling AIADMK government came under opposition flak on Wednesday over the manner in which it closed down the Sterlite Copper smelter plant in Tuticorin as a three-member committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said the closure is unjustified.
In a tweet, DMK President M.K. Stalin said it is a shame for the Tamil Nadu government that the Tarun Aggarwal committee has recommended reopening of the Sterlite Copper smelter plant with certain conditions.
“Knowing that such a thing would happen, I had insisted that the decision to close down the plant should be taken in the cabinet meeting,” Stalin said.
He said the AIADMK government should at least fight the case legally in a proper manner.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss said the committee’s decision was an expected one.
Ramadoss said the smelter plant reopening on New Year 2019 is a certainty and the rulers have cheated the people.
The Tamil Nadu State Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) R. Mutharasan said the state government should shed its supportive stand to the copper smelter plant and take action for permanent closure of the plant.
The NGT had appointed a committee headed by former Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court Tarun Aggarwal to probe the closure of the copper smelter plant.
Tamil Nadu had ordered the closure of the Tuticorin plant, around 650 km from Chennai, following protests and the death of 13 persons in police firing on May 22.
The locals alleged the plant caused pollution and affected their health.
In October, the Tamil Nadu government rejected a Central government-sponsored report on the groundwater contamination in Tuticorin, saying it “prejudices” the state government cases in various courts against the Sterlite copper smelter plant of Vedanta Ltd.
The study said Sterlite Copper can’t be said to be the only cause of pollution.
Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, in a letter to the Central government in October, had said the groundwater report appears to support Sterlite and “is absolutely vague and without any support of empirical data”.
“It does not appear to be made on any scientific basis and it is not known how the two scientists who have submitted the report have made such a vague and an unsubstantiated statement in the report,” Vaidyanathan said.