MDMK general secretary Vaiko, who visited the Sterlite's Copper smelting plant in Tuticorin district on April 6 along with experts from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), said that the battle against the industrial unit would continue since it was causing damage to environment.

In a statement here, Mr. Vaiko said that he had given in writing his views against the ways adopted by the fact-finding team of NEERI experts. Though the Supreme Court on February 25 had directed the NEERI to inspect Sterlite's plant and submit a report in eight weeks, 40 days had elapsed when the NEERI team arrived on April 6.

Mr. Vaiko said though the Sterlite management refused to permit anyone with him, subsequently a few experts and an advocate were allowed to accompany him after he explained the situation to the NEERI team. “When the NEERI team wanted to make another visit to take samples from earth and ground water, I made it clear that it should be done immediately since it was already late. Though NEERI collected samples, we were not allowed to do the same.”

Mr. Vaiko said besides eliciting the views of the villagers who were affected by Sterlite, the NEERI team also spoke to the supporters of the industrial unit at his suggestion.

He also took exception to the visit of NEERI team to two other industrial units without informing him.

Sterlite termed the allegations of Mr. Vaiko “baseless.”

Keywords: NEERIVaikoSterlite plant