The situation continues to remain tense in Thoothukudi, where there is no electric power; internet connection has been cut. Shops and commercial establishments remained shut, educational institutions closed. Public transport suspended from Thoothukudi to other parts of Tamil Nadu. Police and paramilitary personnel deployed all over the town in large numbers and all this because one giant industrialist Anil Agarwal ( Chairman of Vedanta group) illegally expanded the plant’s copper smelter capacity to 1,200 tonnes per day and the central government nodded to it without any public consultation.
Vedanta claims that they got permission from the Union government for the plant’s expansion, the records confirm Vedanta’s claims that the NDA government did interpret the green regulations in 2014, which helped many plants including Vedanta’s at Tuticorin to be built without public consultation.
According the reports form Business Standards, this exception in the environmental safety was made on the request of various industries. The order was carried out as a ‘clarification’ by the then environment minister. This change in law was made to give space to industries like Vedanta who according to the environment ministry under UPA in May 2014 had to seek public consultations to set up a plant.
In 2016 the order of ‘ clarification’ was quashed when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) found out about it. The NGT then instructed the Environment ministry to pass fresh order clearly stating that projects in industrial parks without environmental clearance needed to conduct a public hearing. But, by then it was too late Vedanta had already secured an extension for project expansion without public consultation at Tuticorin.
It took the killing of 13 anti-Sterlite protesters by the state police for the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to seize the operations of the plant on Thursday. While in a press conference held by the Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami claimed that anti-social elements and opposition parties had instigated the people of Thoothukudi to give a bad name to the government, in response to the police firing without warning.
Modi and Agarwal go hand in hand
Ever since the NDA has come into power in 2014, Anil Agarwal has gained immensely. It is no hidden fact that Agarwal has been a staunch supporter of many development agendas (the extension to get environment clearance till December 2018 by the environment ministry to Vedanta stands as an example) that Mr. Prime Minister keep addressing.
Sitaram Yechury, CPM general secretary tweeted, “Vedanta/Sterlite was the highest donor to big parties, so BJP sneaked in FCRA amendments retrospectively. Do these political donations make the police use assault rifles and behave like a private army?”
He further also said that the BJPis hiding this information from the public eye. He said, “BJP does not want us to know. That is why it has made corporate donations to political parties unlimited and then introduced ‘Electoral Bonds’ —so people never find out these connections, which party in power is serving whose interests.”
In order to provide extra hands to Centre’s flagship ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the destructive mining major announced ‘Maryada’ campaign in October 2014 through a press release which said that all the company’s employees would join in the cleanliness drive and also the group will construct toilets in rural Rajasthan in collaboration with the BJP run state government. Though nothing more was heard from the group after the press release. It also led a hand to help in modernising Anganwadis, under the women and child development ministry.
Anil Agarwal has taken a personal interest in projects which are propagated by Narendra Modi and took complete responsibility to beautify the Ganga riverfront in Patna.
In May 2017, Vedanta adopted the Modi government’s pet Ujala scheme, which involves replacing all old lamps with energy-saving LED bulbs.
In a petition filed by Eas sarma (former bureaucrat) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), it was disclosed that between 2004- 2015 Vedanta’s Madras Aluminium Company donated Rs. 3.50 crore to BJP in two installments, while its Sesa Goa limited let out Rs 1.415 crore till date.
A human rights lawyer and activist took to Facebook and wrote, “I’m totally frustrated with the violence in Tamil Nadu. My timeline is full of blood and bodies. The killings keep happening throughout the country in different names. Are we born only to protest for our lives?
I, hereby, call upon the International community to raise voice against the fascist Indian government and the terrors exerted by it. RSS is not the only danger for India’s secularism and communal harmony but for world peace.
If RSS is allowed to exist, violence will be happening somewhere on this planet. It is important to ban RSS and uproot Hindutva in order to protect the world ”!
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, also known as Maulana Azad, was an eminent Indian scholar, freedo…