Violence Over Vedanta’s Sterlite Plant Calls for Shareholders to Hold Strong Moral Compass

The case of Vedanta-Sterlite Copper smelter in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu has once again brought to light the nexus between companies and government that disregards well-being of people and environment.
The NDA government gave concession to the company by getting around the mandatory environmental safety regulations and even the National Green Tribunal’s order on frivolous grounds.The plant has ben accused of dumping copper slag in a river, causing air pollution, contaminating groundwater and a risk to fisheries. The health study conducted in 2008, when the smelter was running at a much lower capacity, found increased prevalence rate of asthma and respiratory infections caused due to the air pollution in the area. The residents have been protesting for over 100 days demanding closure of the smelter and this week 13 people were killed in police firing. The contentious expansion of the smelter was stayed by the Madras High Court on May 23. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board also sprang into action and ordered the closure of the plant, leading to disconnection of power supply.Sterlite Copper of the London-listed Vedanta group has been a habitual offender.