Madurai, Apr 4 (PTI) The Madras High court today directed police to provide proper security for the Sterlite plant in Tuticorin, which is facing protests from various political outfits and local people.

A leading copper producer, Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000 Tonnes Per Annum plant in Tuticorin.

Justice D Krishna Kumar gave the direction while hearing a plea filed by the General Manager of Vedanta Limited, Satyapriya.

The judge also asked the factory management to give a representation to the Tuticorin district SP.

The petitioner submitted that several NGOs were spreading canards about the sterlite unit which gave employment to more than 3,500 people directly and indirectly.

The unit has been cleared by the pollution control board also, the petitioner said.

However, some NGOs and political outfits were holding demonstrations and threatening factory employees and management, the petitioner submitted.

Each activity of the factory was obstructed by anti-social elements, the petitioner alleged.

The operation of the plant was endangered and its safety and people working in the factory was risky now, it was submitted.

They apprehended physical assault and feared that the plant’s property would be damaged.

They had given a representation to police officials to provide protection for the plant to avoid untoward incidents.

The petitioner sought a direction from the court to police for providing protection to employees and properties of the plant and also for transportation of articles.

The state government submitted that sufficient security has been provided to the sterlite plant.

They were taking steps to prevent any untoward incidents, the government submitted and added that legal action was being taken against those who organised protests.

Residents of A Kumarareddiapuram village have been demanding that the plant be shut down immediately, alleging that they faced serious health issues due to pollution from the unit.

Tamil actor and Makkal Neethi Mayyam chief Kamal Haasan had visited the village on Sunday to express solidarity with the people whose protest had entered the 49th day that day.

The unit was shutdown on March 29 for 15 days for “maintenance work.” The firm has since placed advertisements in dailies, claiming that it has not violated any norms against the background of continuing protests.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.