TN orders probe into Vedanta violence, HC stalls expansion

Vedanta,  one of the wor­ld's largest diversified natural resources companies, onWednesday urged the government to ensure safety and security of employees at its copper smelter facility at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu wh­ile expressing “regret and so­rrow” over incidents of people being killed in protests.

The Thootukudi copper smelter at Tuticorin is run by Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit where a man was killed on Wednesday in new round of police firing on people protesting against the plant’s expansion on fears of rising pollution.

As many as 10 people had lost their lives in police action on Tuesday.

“It is with great sorrow and regret that we witnessed Tuesday’s incidents around the protest at Tuticorin. The company has appealed to the government and authorities to ensure the safety of our employees, facilities and the surrounding community,” Vedanta said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.

The Sterlite Copper plant is currently non-operational as the company awaits approval for the ‘consent to operate’, it said.

The Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed a prop­o­sed expansion of the pl­ant. Locals have been agitating for over 100 days now demanding closure of the Vedanta group copper plant over pollution concerns.

The Tamil Nadu government has set up an inquiry co­mmission, headed by Aru­na Jagadeesan, a ret­i­red jud­ge of the Madras HC, to  look in­to the matter. Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the violence and issued notices to chief secretary and the director general of police, calling for de­tailed reports in 2 weeks.