An all-party meet in Chennai on Monday will deliberate on the stand to be taken by Tamil Nadu on Vedanta's plea in the Supreme Court, seeking its nod to open the company's Sterlite copper unit in the state to produce oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients. Though there was no official word from either the state government or the ruling AIADMK on the meet, the main opposition party DMK said its representatives would take part in it at the Secretariat.
Sterlite's plant at Tuticorin in southern Tamil Nadu has remained closed since May 2018 over pollution concerns.
Asked about DMK's stand on allowing Sterlite to produce oxygen, party general secretary Duraimurugan said Organisational Secretary RS Bharathi and Tuticorin Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi would articulate the party position in the meeting. The office of Kanimozhi, who is also the Women's Wing Secretary of the party, in a brief statement, said that she would take part in the meeting.
People are dying due to lack of oxygen,the Supreme Court had said on April 23, asking why the Tamil Nadu government cannot take over the Sterlite copper unit for producing oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients. "We are not interested that Vedanta or A, B or C runs it. We are interested that oxygen should be produced," a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde had said. "Somebody should say something concrete because people are dying due to lack of oxygen," said the bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and S R Bhat.
The apex court was hearing Vedanta's plea seeking opening of its unit at Tuticorin on the ground that it would produce thousand tonnes of oxygen and give it free of cost to treat COVID-19 patients. The top court, which was informed by senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan appearing for Tamil Nadu that he would file an affidavit on the issue, posted the matter for hearing on April 26.
The apex court had Thursday termed the COVID-19 situation as almost a "national emergency" while agreeing to hear Vedanta's plea seeking opening of its unit.