Shares of UK- based Vedanta fell as much as 6 percent to Rs 253.75, its lowest since July 2017, after the Madras High Court directed it to stop the construction of Unit II of its 'Sterlite Copper' plant in Toothukudi (southern Tamil Nadu).
The interim order was passed based on a public interest litigation petition filed in the Madurai Bench of the High Court by R. Fatima of Thoothukudi. A Division Bench of Justices M. Sundar and Anita Sumanth said that Vedanta's plea for renewal of environment clearance should be processed by 23 September after conducting a public hearing. The company has to cease the construction of its unit until then.
The decision comes in the backdrop of violent protests in the port town of Thoothukudi on Tuesday, where 11 persons, including a 17-year old girl, were killed in police firing. A massive rally was conducted by the local people called 'Anti Sterlite Movement', in which thousands participated demanding the closure of Sterlite Copper, a unit of Vedanta group.
The rally turned violent after prohibitory orders were put in force, and police personnel did not allow it to move further. The protestors then set fire to vehicles, including those of policemen and threw stones at them. It was the 100th day of the protest against the company that is being accused of air and water pollution in the area.