Sterlite plant now under police control

Sterlite plant now under police control

Far away from the hustle and bustle of Thoothukudi, there stands a massive premise spread across hundreds of acres on the Madurai-Thoothukudi highway.

The large campus that houses Sterlite Copper, a unit of the London-based Vedanta, is now deserted except for the police personnel posted to guard the campus from protesters.

The factory is located 5 km from the Thoothukudi collectorate, the epicentre of Tuesday's anti-Sterlite protests.

The giant board of Sterlite copper is hard to miss for anyone who takes the Thoothukudi-Madurai highway.

On Friday, when this correspondent went to the area, only police vehicles, riot-control vehicles and a few personnel welcomed him.

Security was beefed up at the campus after Tuesday's protest due to apprehension that the agitators may gherao the plant, which is now shut.

The police keeps their eyes on every vehicle that passes by the plant. They approach the vehicles even if they slow down a bit.

The copper-smelting plant, which produces 4,00,000 metric tonnes every year, has already been under attack for its bad effluent practices and poor pollution-control management, courted fresh controversy in 2014 when it renewed its plans to expand the already sprawling facility.

The existing factory is worth Rs 2,100 crore according to insiders, who also admit that they have shifted the majority of their staff to safer places.