Even as anti-Sterlite groups are mounting pressure on the Tamil Nadu Government to pass a resolution in the Legislative Assembly to ensure the permanent closure of Sterlite Copper, the supporters have appealed to the government to ensure early reopening of the now sealed copper smelter unit.
“Considering the benefits Thoothukudi has received after Sterlite Copper started its operations here, the government should take steps for reopening of the plant on an early note,” said a group of supporters who addressed reporters here on Saturday.
They said the Sterlite Copper, which had pumped in several crores of rupees for the betterment of Thoothukudi and its people, especially from the vulnerable sections of the society, was continuing its support to these beneficiaries even after it was closed down following the protest. The self-help groups were given financial assistances and entrepreneurship training even though the Sterlite Copper was not functioning as it was sealed. Meritorious students who were getting scholarship from Sterlite Copper were being given the assistance till today.
While workers of Strelite Copper had lost their livelihood, the contractors, who were getting orders from the company, had been in the lurch after the copper manufacturing unit’s operations were crippled completely.
“After the copper smelter was closed down following the agitation, the country had to import copper with its precious foreign exchange. Apart from Thoothukudi, the entire nation has been hit hard by the closure of Sterlite Copper. While the anti-Sterlite protestors’ views are being received positively by the officials, the Sterlite Copper supporters’ views are not being entertained by the officials. Hence, the State Government, considering the growth of Thoothukudi and the nation, should ensure the reopening of Sterlite Copper,” they said.
Contractors’ representative Thiyagarajan, advocate Manikanda Raja, Jayakani of Thaayagam Trust and a group of people from the villages situated near Sterlite Copper were present.
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