MAC: Mines and Communities

Sterlite inaugurates schemes worth Rs 100 crores as promised to NGT

Published by MAC on 2019-01-12
Source: The News Minute, Nostromo Research

Vedanta's subsidiary, Sterlite, has adopted arguably the crudest form of company "greenwash".

It's attempting to pacify thousands of citizens, thirteen of whom were shot dead by police in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin), while many others protested against numous maladies caused  by the company's highly polluting copper smelter [for earlier report, see: A byword for infamy ].

Now, the company - in an attempt to force re-opening of the currently-closed plant - is throwing millions of dollars at civil society via various welfare schemes.

In an audacious display of self confidence, Sterlite's COO says: “We have decided to leave behind the past and hope the future is the best".

But, as an old English adage warns: "Fine words butter no parsnips!"

And nor does corporate hypocrisy.

[Comment by Nostromo Research]

Sterlite inaugurates schemes worth Rs 100 crores as promised to NGT

The NGT had accepted Sterlite’s offer to spend Rs 100 crore on welfare schemes for the people in Thoothukudi.

Megha Kaveri

The News Minute

11 January 2019

In an attempt to speed up the process of reopening the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, the company inaugurated schemes worth Rs 100 crores for the people living in the town.

The move comes closely on the heels of the offer made to the judge at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in December. The projects launched on Friday include an employment scheme for the youth which aims to provide education-appropriate jobs for 5,000 young people every year, a multi-specialty hospital, a smart school and drinking water scheme which is touted to benefit 20,000 residents in 15 villages in the town. There are also schemes which is aimed at boosting the entrepreneurial opportunities for women and a ‘Green Thoothukudi’ scheme which will lead to planting of 10 lakh saplings across Thoothukudi over three years.

Speaking at the function held on Friday in Thoothukudi, D Dhanavel, the Chief Commercial Officer of Sterlite Copper said that it was an important day for the company and that the schemes were conceived after much thought on them.

“We have decided to leave behind the past and hope the future is the best. This company has been here for 22 years since 1996. We have always had the intention to serve the society in which we live, apart from making our plant the best,” he said.

Adding that apart from implementing programmes for the welfare of the people since long, he said that the company has also been receptive to feedback from beneficiaries on those schemes.

“These schemes were not conceived in a day or a week. We have been going through rough patches since the past ten months, as you might know. Even if that had happened, we have been trying to understand and solve the causes for such issues to arise. We met around 2.5 lakh stakeholders regarding the new schemes and got their feedback on our ideas,” he explained.

The National Green Tribunal had, in December, ordered the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant to be reopened trashing Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s reasons to shut the plant down. The plant was closed in May 2018, after TNPCB failed to renew the consent for the operation of the plant citing environmental concerns.

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