Pollution and harassment at MALCO

Local resident holds her medical records to show how pollution is affecting them

This report comes direct from Mettur, Tamil Nadu, where Vedanta subsidiary MALCO operates a power plant and large red mud dump at the edge of the Stanley reservoir. The red mud dump and power plant have caused misery for the local community, who live practically on top of it, for years, and now MALCO are building a new cooling tower which will make matters worse. Already local people who oppose the plans have been threatened, and a fact finding team was sent to investigate the situation, but was itself attacked by local pro-industry goondas. This is what the local community face every day thanks to Vedanta’s callous approach to profit making.

Team investigating MALCO’s environmental violations attacked by goons in Mettur

Nityanand Jayaraman.

Mettur, 5 August 2013: A fact-finding team investigating the alleged environmental violations and high handedness of the officials of MALCO Thermal Plant in Mettur, was attacked by goons today afternoon. The team comprising of Dr. Adithya Pradyumna of SOCHARA, Bangalore, and Kavin Malar, social activist and journalist, was attacked when they came out of the meeting with MALCO public relations officer Mr. Suryaprakash and were on their way to visit the company operated coal yard in Thangamapuripatnam near Mettur Railway Station.

the cooling towers with a toilet built by MALCO in the foreground

According to eyewitness the two goons approached the car in which the team was travelling and pelted stones at it resulting in the damage to the windshield. The members of the team escaped the attack without sustaining any injury but some residents accompanying them sustained minor injuries.


The fact-finding team was visiting the region to verify the growing complaints by the dalit residents of Ramamoorthy Nagar, of heat stress caused by the hot drafts of air from two cooling towers, the coal dust and flyash of MALCO’s thermal plant. Currently, MALCO is constructing yet another cooling tower even closer to the residential area.


House right in front of the cooling towers

The Fact-finding Team’s mandate was to look into the following:
1. Enquire into the grievances of local people with respect to the alleged historical and ongoing pollution from MALCO.
2. Enquire into the nature of health problems reported by people, with a view to ascertaining if any of the reported ailments can be linked to pollution from MALCO.
3. Establish the legality of new constructions, if any, at MALCO and comment on the appropriateness of siting of various components of existing and proposed/ongoing projects at MALCO.


toxic red mud dust covers the ground in the village

4. Enquire into attitude of the company towards Ramamoorthy Nagar villagers.


Other members accompanying the team were T M Ganesan of Gonur West Agriculturist Development Union, Muthhukumarn and Kammalkannan of Speak Out Salem.
The Fact Finding is co-organised by – Gonur West Agriculturists Development Union, Mettur; Speak Out Salem, Salem; Community Environmental Monitoring, Chennai.


A police complaint about today’s attack is being filed in Mettur.


MALCO is a sister company of Sterlite Industries.

Leave a Reply