Madras HC issues notice to authorities on PIL seeking quashing of environmental clearance to Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin

Madurai: The Madras High Court on Monday issued notice to the Environment and Forest ministry and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, among others, on a plea seeking quashing of the environmental clearance given to Vedanta Limited for its copper smelter unit in Tuticorin district.

File image of Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant in Tuticorin. Reuters

File image of Sterlite Industries Ltd's copper plant in Tuticorin. Reuters

The petitioner named Prince Cardoza alleged that the unit violated environmental clearance conditions and caused water pollution. Vedanta Limited misrepresented the facts and should be prosecuted, he submitted. It had suppressed the environment footprint of its operation and the real extent of toxic emission and it did not have adequate pollution mitigation infrastructure, the petitioner submitted. Sterlite unit operated in violation of the Environment clearance and was situated in a prohibited area by misrepresenting the hazards caused by it, he alleged.

The petitioner said it was a 'red category industry' and should be established only in Special Industries and Hazardous industries zone, but was located in a residential zone. Justices C T Selvam and S S Sundar of the Madurai bench ordered issuing of notice returnable within two weeks.

Thirteen people were killed in police firing on 22 and 23 May when violence broke out during the protest by locals, demanding closure of the Sterlite plant, a unit of Vedanta Limited, over pollution issues. After the violence, the government ordered the unit's closure.

Meanwhile, Tuticorin district collector Sandeep Nanduri said 95 percent of the sulphuric acid in a storage tank of the copper smelter unit, a small quantity of which had leaked on 17 June, had been removed. Talking to newsmen here, he also said the entire quantity of phosphoric acid has been removed from the unit.

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Updated Date: Jul 24, 2018 09:51:34 IST

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