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Land Allocation for Sterlite Expansion Cancelled, Probe into Violence Transferred to CB-CID

The move comes a day after the state government ordered its Pollution Control Board to seal and 'permanently' close the Sterlite Copper plant following last week's protests, over pollution concerns.

PTI

Updated:May 29, 2018, 8:47 PM IST
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Land Allocation for Sterlite Expansion Cancelled, Probe into Violence Transferred to CB-CID
Police personnel crack down on protesters demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tuticorin. (PTI)
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Chennai/Tuticorin: The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday cancelled land allotment for planned expansion of Vedanta group's copper plant in Tuticorin "in larger public interest" and ordered a CB-CID probe into the violence during the anti-Sterlite protest and police firing that left 13 dead.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami told the state assembly that the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT) has issued the order cancelling the land allotment.

The move comes a day after the state government ordered its Pollution Control Board to seal and 'permanently' close the Sterlite Copper plant following last week's protests, over pollution concerns.

The probe into the violence during the last week's protest and police firing was on Tuesday transferred from local police to the Crime Branch-CID police, a senior official told PTI.

In a related development, state Governor Banwarilal Purohit visited the kin of some of those killed in the police firings on May 22 and 23 and also met the injured at a goverment hospital at Tuticorin.

Officials said Purohit asked the doctors to ensure best treatment to the injured.

He was briefed by officials on the violent incidents and the present situation as well, officials said.

The prolonged agitation by the locals demanding closure of the Sterlite factory turned violent on its 100th day on May 22 and 13 people were killed in police action over two days. At least 50 persons were injured.

Speaking in the assembly, Palaniswami said the land for expansion was allocated during the previous DMK regime and SIPCOT has now cancelled it.

Earlier, SIPCOT in its communication to the Vedanta group said: "As the allotment of land for the proposed expansion has been made by SIPCOT, in larger public interest, the land allotment made by SIPCOT for proposed expansion of copper smelter plant (Phase-2) by Vedanta Ltd is hereby cancelled."

"The land price collected for the said land allotment will be refunded as per the norms of SIPCOT," it said.

There have been a series of agitations against the establishment of a copper plant at the SIPCOT industrial complex in Tuticorin, about 600 km from here, expressing concerns about the pollution caused, it added.

An official release here said, "The cancellation of allotment of 342.22 acres of land has been made in larger public interest and this has been communicated to the company."

In a BSE filing, the Vedanta group apprised the exchange of the cancellation of land allocation.

Palaniswami had on Monay said the state government had issued the directive to seal and 'permanently' close the copper unit, in deference to the 'sentiments' of the people.

"In deference to the opinion and sentiments of the general public, it was decided to close down the Sterlite plant and a Government Order has been issued today (on Tuesday)," he had said.

Vedanta Ltd has termed the closure "unfortunate" and said it would decide the future course of action after studying the development.

The Madras High Court had on May 23 stayed the expansion of the copper plant on a petition by environmental activist Fathima Babu.

The petitioner submitted that Vedanta Limited should be restrained from carrying out activities in the lands on which the proposed copper smelter-unit II was being constructed.

The court had also directed the Centre to submit within four months a report after holding a public hearing in the district to invite public opinion on the plan for expansion.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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