Sterlite copper smelter unit, India


The ‘Anti-Sterlite People’s Committee’ has been protesting against the company Sterilite Industries (India) Limited since March 2013. The factory belongs to the company Vedanta Group. On 23rd March 2013, many people from neighbourhood areas fall sick following noxious gas leak (1). The gas caused mild suffocation, sore throat and eye irritation. Following the protest, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board issued a notice directing the Vedanta group company to close the plant.

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Basic Data
NameSterlite copper smelter unit, India
ProvinceTamil Nadu
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Metal refineries
Chemical industries
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Chemical products
Sterlite, Aluminium
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date23/03/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesSterlite Industries Ltd. from India
Vedanta from United Kingdom
Relevant government actorsTamil Nadu Pollution Control Board , District Collector, Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and the chairperson of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters‘Anti-Sterlite People’s Committee’, Contacts at
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationPublic campaigns
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew legislation
Under negotiation
On April 2, 2013, the Supreme Court of India asked Sterlite Industries to pay Rs 100 crore as compensation for polluting the environment. The Supreme court has also directed that the amount is to be paid over three months from that day to the District Collector of Tuticorin.
Development of AlternativesA team of experts from IIT Madras and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials have begun inspecting the copper smelter unit of Sterlite Industries on a direction from the National Green Tribunal following an alleged noxious gas leak last month, causing health problems among locals.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board issued a notice directing the Vedanta group company to close the plant.

Sterlite Industries moved the National Green Tribunal on April 1 challenging the order, saying it had been passed without giving an opportunity to them.
Sources and Materials

Air and Water Acts


Year Ended 31 March 2013
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Sterlite Industries (India) Limited

Production Release for the Fourth Quarter and

The Anti-Sterlite Peoples Struggle Committee released a booklet titled 'Doctors Speak Out'


(1)Vedanta-Sterlite – Dangerous by Design: Nityanand Jayaraman
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Anti-Sterlite group demands Tuticorin plant closure
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IIT, pollution control board team begins inspection of Sterlite unit
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Members of anti-Sterlite panel to demand permanent closure of the Copper smelter plant
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Media Links

Interview In Hindi
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Interview In Hindi
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Other CommentsOne of the most engaged social activist and part of the Anti-Sterlite People Struggle Committee is the journalist Nityanand Jayaraman.
Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014