Chennai: An all-party meeting led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on April 26 endorsed reopening of the Sterlite plant in Tuticorin for oxygen production for four months amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Eight recognised parties — the AIADMK, the DMK, the BJP, the Congress, the PMK, the DMDK and Left parties –passed the resolution for the reopening of unit for oxygen production.
“A resolution has been passed to permit oxygen production for four months and it would be reviewed later,” DMK leader and Tuticorin MP Kanimozhi told reporters.
The meeting lasted two and a half hours, ahead of the Supreme Court taking up for hearing the Vedanta’s plea to open the unit to produce thousand tonnes of medical oxygen. The unit has remained shut down since May 2018 after protests erupted over environmental concerns.
The main opposition, DMK, said the plant should be granted permission temporarily in view of the Covid-19 surge and oxygen crisis in the country, “A committee led by district collector, superintendent of police and health official should oversee the production, which should have representatives of locals, anti-Sterlite protestors and environmentalists,” Kanimozhi said.
The DMK said the produced oxygen should be given free of cost to the people of Tamil Nadu and the government should supply power to the unit. Meanwhile, BJP state president L Murugan said it was a temporary arrangement. “The produced oxygen should predominantly be used for Tamil Nadu,” the BJP leader said.
In a statement, MDMK leader Vaiko said the Tamil Nadu government could take over the Sterlite unit to produce oxygen and could also avail the required engineers from the public-sector undertakings or the engineers of the Sterlite unit on a contract basis. “The unit should never be allowed to operate on its own,” the leader said.