Thoothukudi villagers continue protest against Sterlite plant expansion
After the massive turnout of over 15,000 people on Saturday against the proposed expansion of the Sterlite copper plant here, scores of residents of A. Kumareddiyarpuram continued the protest for the 42nd day on Sunday.
Women and children of the village squatted under a tree with a black board demanding the closure of the plant. Black flags were put up in some houses in the village, making their view of the copper smelter unit clear.
Claiming that the indefinite protest was a collective agitation by the people of Thoothukudi against the “polluting unit”, the protesters did not want to be identified by their individual names. They alleged that many people of the village had been suffering from several health issues due to air and water pollution.
“No authorities have met the villagers here so far to convince us [on the resolution of the issue]. It seems they are not bothered about our well-being,” one of them said.
The protesters charged that representatives from some political parties had been unnecessarily intervening in their agitation. “The politicians are threatening us to give up the protest against this plant. But we are determined in our commitment to protest until it is closed,” another protester said.
Thousands of people joined the massive protest organised by the Anti Sterlite Movement here on Saturday evening, near the Chidambara Nagar bus stop along the Palayamkottai road.
The agitating people raised slogans against operation of the plant and demanded its closure citing alleged health risks by pollution.
Vehicular traffic was badly affected and public transport between Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli had to be diverted as the agitators swelled to over 15,000 people by late evening. They raised slogans against operation of the plant and demanded its closure. Normal vehicular movement could be resumed only around 9 p.m. on Saturday, after the crowd dispersed, Superintendent of Police (SP) P. Mahendran said.