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Tuticorin factory currently non-operational: Sterlite Copper

Tuticorin factory currently non-operational: Sterlite Copper”

Ongoing protests demanding closure of the Sterlite plant showed no signs of abating, despite calls for calm by the Tamil Nadu government.

He expressed his condolences to the family of the people who died in the police firing on Tuesday and Wednesday in Tuticorin.

Public transport has been suspended from Thoothukudi to other parts of Tamil Nadu.

It ordered authorities to hold a public hearing over Vedanta's application for environmental clearance and said a decision on environment approval would be completed within a period of four months.

"One person was brought dead today, and up to eight cases of injuries due to gun shot are undergoing treatment", said a doctor in charge of the casualty ward at Thoothukudi government hospital.

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More than 65 people have been injured in the clashes between agitated protestors and police officials. About 20 police officers were also injured in the skirmish, which occurred in the southern port city Tuticorin.

Multiple doctors working in the casualty and accident ward alleged that stones were pelted at the medical team, and a senior doctor was manhandled.

As the toll in the violence following the anti-Sterlite protests rose to 11 on Wednesday, the Home Ministry also sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government over the incident.

The city's Eral Bazaar, which is usually bustling with economic activity on a regular day, was nearly deserted late evening.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday passed an interim order staying the construction of the new copper smelter by Sterlite. Environmental activists say the cooper plant is polluting local water resources, allegations the company denied as "false propaganda".

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"Truth and reasoning have prevailed", said Fatima Babu, who had petitioned the court. "People of Thoothukudi should cooperate with police". The government committed a "Himalayan blunder" by handling the protest with 'guns and teargas shells, ' he said, adding at least a Minister accompanied by the district Collector should have spoken to the agitators.

Vedanta's share price closed at 250 rupees ($3.65) after losing more than seven percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

On NSE, shares of the company dropped 6% to Rs253.75.

The shutdown of the smelter could lead to higher imports of copper into the country and benefit rival Hindalco Industries Ltd, said securities analysts. It is scheduled to reopen in June and plans to double its capacity. Vedanta and Hindalco provide nearly all of the rest between them.

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