New Delhi, Mar 31: Actor turned politician Kamal Hassan has said that he will be leading the protest against the Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu on April 1.

Hassan, who has recently launched his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam, announced this while addressing a gathering. In Tamil Nadu, there has been a long protest against the Sterlite Copper’s plant and its proposed expansion. The protesters are demanding the closure of the plant as it is causing pollution which is harmful to the residents.

PEOPLE ARE PROTESTING AGAINST THE PLANT
The plant, a Vedanta group firm, was established in 1996 in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.  The plant is a major copper smelter. According to study the liquid waste released by the plant is toxic and it has a bad effect on human eyes, skin and respiratory system.

Since when the company has established there, it has witnessed protests. Locals’ living nearby plant complains of many problems and demands its closure. But factory has said that they are following rules and not violated any norms.

Sterlite industry has 400,000 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) production capacity of the copper smelter. It also has associate facilities such as refinery and copper rod plant, sulphuric acid plant of more than 1.2 million MTPA and phosphoric acid plant of 220,000 MTPA at State Industries Promotion Corp. of Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT), Thoothukudi.  Sterlite also operates a 160 megawatts (MW) coal-based power plant in the southern coastal town of Tamil Nadu.

RESIDENTS SAY
Nearby residents have alleged that the factory is using groundwater which is ultimately polluting water. Children are drinking the harmful toxic water which is not good for them. On regular residents say they feel that their eyes are itching and throats are burning and cannot breathe properly. Villagers have been protesting for last 20 years which has led to the closure of factory multiple times.

WHEN SUPREME COURT SAID
In 2013 while hearing the petition, the Supreme Court had allowed Sterlite to function after paying a fine of Rs 100 crore as a deterrent.