The latest in line to receive a response from Sterlite is none other than actor turned politicans Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

Sterlite on PR overdrive tweets to Rajini Kamal and other celebs on the true picture
news Protests Sunday, April 01, 2018 - 20:21

Since the March 24 uprising against Vedanta Sterlite's copper smelter began in Thootukudi, several counter arguments have been put forth to defend Sterlite. The company itself has sprung into action and taken to social media to reply to those who accuse it of polluting the environment. Their tactic is predictable and they place burden of proving the factory's guilt on those affected by the pollutants.

The latest in line to receive a response from Sterlite is none other than actor turned politicans Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

In a tweet on Saturday, the actor said, "I don't understand why the government is allowing Sterlite to continue its operations when people have been protesting for 47 days and saying that the factory is responsible for multiple ailments."

In response to his tweet Sterlite has said, "Dear @rajinikanth, we feel that incorrect and untrue information may have reached you about our operations in Thoothukudi. It is our sincere hope that these #facts will give you the true picture and help develop a balanced opinion."

They have further attached documents that argue against the allegations made by protesters. Sterlite claims Thootukudi 'leads in Human Deverlopment Index, not cancer'.

Its argument include the claim that Thoothukudi district ranks third in the state in HDI and even quotes the gender index in the district.

Sterlite then goes on to say that many of its employees including senior management have been living within 1km from the plant for the past 20 years. The company has said that it has zero liquid discharge from its inception and that no ground water pollution has been observed by any authority or technical committee appointed by Supreme Court and NGT.

Read: History of Sterlite in Thoothukudi: A story of betrayal by crony regulators

The statement further says, "Copper slag in non-leachable, non-hazardous and non-toxic waste being utilised for sustainable applications such cement production, road building abrasives. Sterlite being a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) plant, does not pose any threat to marine ecosystem."

Sterlite further argues that Thootukudi ranks no.23 in ground water contamination in the state.

According to activists however, a study by the Department of Community Medicine, Tirunelveli Medical College in 2008 shows alarming findings. Iron content in groundwater near the site of protests was over 17 times higher than permissible levels, respirators diseases were common in areas surrounding the factory, Myalgia was another widely reported symptom in the study area closer to the factory and women in the area had more menstrual disorders.

Read: Sterlite - here’s the proof: How the copper plant impacts health of Thoothukudi people

This however has not stopped sterlite from individually tweeting to celebrities who have questioned its continuing operations in the state. Those at the receiving end of the same document include Hip Hop Tamizha, Vijay Sethupathi and GV Prakash. 

Kamal infact visited the site of protests on Sunday, criticised the plant and the government for allowing the alleged pollution to go unchecked.

"This is their negligence; this has been prevailing for so many years. Sterlite broke a lot of rules. Such a huge crime couldn’t have been committed without the permission of the government, it has happened with the knowledge of the Government. It seems like the Pollution Control Board hasn’t done its job properly. There should have been a green belt. There are no traces of it. I went to see it, it doesn’t exist. The belt that they claim is inside SIPCOT should be verified if it is actually there," said Kamal.

"The license for TIP (Thoothukudi Industrial Park) hasn’t been granted yet, but expansions works have begun. Some people who sit inside AC rooms in Madras, who charge money to talk are asking me if such happenings are true, they are asking me for evidence and proof. I saw the kids affected with diseases, such injustice should not happen in democratic India. That is my humble opinion," he added. 

 

 

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