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Sterlite goes down, Tuticorin slowly crawls towards normalcy

The beleaguered Sterlite copper smelter factory here was hit by yet another crippling knock with its water and power supplies cut off early Thursday morning following directive from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board ordering the disconnection.

“As the chief minister has said in Chennai earlier today, this means that Sterlite is closed down for good. And that meets the demand of the people. So it is now time for us to work towards restoration of normalcy”, the newly appointed district collector Sandeep Nanduri told a crowded press conference here. He was joined by the team of two top bureaucrats who arrived from Chennai to assist the healing process — Gagandeep Singh Bedi and PWC Dawidar — besides the new SP Murali Rambha and IG (south zone) Sailesh Kumar Yadav.

While this signalled a victory for the protesters fighting for the last 100 days for the unit’s closure alleging pollution of environment and groundwater, it also paved the way for the battle-ravaged trading town to slowly crawl back to normalcy. Train services resumed in the evening and buses are likely to start plying from early Friday, officials said.

The 100th day rally on May 22 had led to violence as the protesters marched threateningly towards the district collector’s office and pelted stones, besides torching vehicles, leading to the police firing that caused the death of 13 people, including two women.

The 13th victim breathed his last at the hospital without responding to intensive treatment to the head injury sustained in police lathi-charge, doctors said.

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