Factbox: Thoothukudi Sterlite Plant

Thoothukudi Sterlite Plant is the largest copper smelter plant in India, in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu which is operated by Vedanta group. It started its operation in 1998 till 2018 when the plant was shut on the orders of Tamil Nadu government in May 2018. The Tamil Nadu government gave closure order after various violent protests from locals demanding the entire shutdown of the smelting plants which were operational.

Thoothukudi Sterlite Plant Controversy:

  • The Thoothukudi Sterlite plant has been long-opposed by the local residents for polluting their environment as well as causing a range of health problems and has been subject to several closures, on grounds of violating environmental norms.
  • The people of Thoothukudi has been opposing for long for the closure of the plant. They blame the plant for the pollution of their environment and for various health problems in the area.
  • The National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board also found the evidence that the plant contaminated the groundwater, air and soil of the areas with its effluents and also for the violation of the standards of operation.
  • In 2010, the Madras High Court ordered a shutdown of the Sterlite plant for the violation of environmental regulations.
  • In April 2013, The Supreme Court struck down the Madras high court’s order. It put a fine on Sterlite of Rs 100 crore for polluting the environment and for operation without the consent of TNPCB. The plant soon reopened after this favourable order.
  • But in March 2013, The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board re-ordered a closure of the plant on grounds of gas leakage, causing nausea and skin irritation among residents of the area.
  • There were renewed mass-protests in March and April 2018 against the company’s plans of establishing a second smelting complex.  The locals demanded the entire shutdown of the smelting plants on the grounds of violating environmental regulations. The protests took a violent turn and many people got killed.
  • On 28th May 2018, the Tamil Nadu government ordered for the permanent closure of Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi.

The National Green Tribunal on 15th December 2018 had dismissed the state government’s order of May 2018 to shut down the plant permanently. Recently, the Tamil Nadu government has announced to approach the Supreme Court challenging the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s order allowing the reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018


18th meeting of IRIGC-MTC held in New Delhi

The Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently met Russian Defence Minister  General Sergei Shoigu at the 18th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) that was held in New Delhi.

Important Highlights of the 18th Meeting of IRIGC-MTC:

  • In the meeting, a wide range of issues were discussed regarding defence equipment, industry and technological cooperation between India and Russia.
  • Issues related to after sales support and upgradation of military equipment of Russian origin were also discussed.
  • Both the Ministers has expressed heir satisfaction at the progress in bilateral defence cooperation between India and Russia.
  • Discussions took place on joint manufacturing projects in the meeting, including the Kamov-226T helicopters, naval frigates and other projects related to land systems.
  • There was also an agreement from both the sides to take forward inter-governmental arrangements to facilitate joint .manufacturing of spares for equipments of Russian origin in India, under the ‘Make in India’ scheme.
  • The existing IRIGC-MTC will be restructured to the IRIGC on Military and Military Technical Cooperation. An agreement regarding this was signed by the two Defence Ministers.


Russia has been the most important arms supplier for India’s Defence forces.  Both the countries have an institutionalized structure to oversee all the issues of military-technical cooperation. The IRIGC is at the top of this institutionalized structure. The India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was set up in 2000.  The First meeting of the IRIGC-MTC was held in Moscow in 2001.  The 19th IRIGC meeting is proposed to be held in Russia next year.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018