The meeting of all recognised political parties chaired by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday decided to allow operation of Vedanta Ltd’s Sterlite plant in Tuticorin to produce oxygen for four months with the power supplied by the state utility.
The all party meeting was called in the wake of Supreme Court asking the Tamil Nadu government on its views to permit operation of the oxygen plant at the shutdown Vedanta’s copper smelter unit in Tuticorin after a petition was filed by the company in this regard.
The meeting unanimously decided to allow operation of the oxygen plant at Vedanta’s copper smelter plant or Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin temporarily for four months.
The supply of power to operate the oxygen plant and other related units will by the state power utility and Vedanta cannot use its own power facilities. As per the decision, the oxygen plant operation may be extended beyond four months depending on the exigencies and post that power supply will be disconnected.
The meeting also categorically said that on no account Vedanta’s copper smelter unit or its power generation unit or any other unit will be allowed to operate. The parties also said Tamil Nadu should be given preference for supply of oxygen produced at Vedanta’s copper smelter plant and only excess should be supplied to other states.
People who were connected with the operation of an oxygen plant will be allowed entry with necessary pass.
A committee headed by District Collector and consisting of District Superintendent of Police, officials of state pollution control board, two government officials who are experts in oxygen production technology, environmentalists, non-governmental organisation operating in environment area, anti-Sterlite protesters and people of Tuticorin will decide and monitor production.
Earlier speaking at the meeting Palaniswami said Vedanta has approached the Supreme Court to allow it to protect and maintain its important assets in the smelter plant and permit it to produce 1,050 tonnes of oxygen and supply freely to nearby hospitals and to other states. According to Palaniswami, the company said that based on the oxygen plant, production can be started in two or four weeks.