Vedanta-owned Sterlite copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, which was shut in 2018 amid protests by locals over environmental pollution, has been allowed to re-open partially for four months to produce oxygen. The move comes as Tamil Nadu sees a surge in Covid cases. A government-appointed panel will monitor the functioning of the plant. Copper production won't be allowed. The decision was announced after an all-party meeting where MK Stalin's DMK suggested that Sterlite "should provide oxygen for free" to Tamil Nadu. The DMK also stressed on the monitoring of the functioning of the plant. "Sterlite can't use this permission to reopen plant in any way," the party stressed. DMK leader Kanimozhi, who is the MP from Thoothukudi, said the panel monitoring the reopening and production of oxygen at the plant should include locals who had opposed the copper plant, so they can monitor the developments. In 2018, 17 anti-Sterlite protesters were shot dead in a police firing; the CBI is still probing the deaths.
Lashing out against the Election Commission, the Madras High Court has called it "the most irresponsible institution in the country" and felt it should probably face murder charges for not preventing parties from breaching Covid-19 protocols during campaigning during the Assembly elections. It also warned of stopping the counting process on May 2 unless proper plans were drawn up for the process.
From Intelligence Bureau(IB) to various state police organisations, almost all major law enforcement agencies in the country are trailing criminal gangs, peddlers, hoarders, stockists, and black marketeers, suspected of amassing doses of Remdesivir, the most potent drug for treating coronavirus. In UP and MP, special squads have been formed while in Maharashtra and Gujarat, police commissioners of several districts are working round the clock to prevent pilferage of the wonder drug.
Indian Air Force helicopters with Bambi Buckets have been pressed into service to put out an Australia-type bushfire raging for two days in Mizoram's Lunglei district.
With the world rushing to aid India in its struggle against surging Covid cases, the US has finally agreed to provide it raw materials for vaccines that had previously been under export controls, as well as other key material.