General secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) Vaiko on Tuesday strongly pleaded in the Supreme Court for a permanent closure of the copper smelting plant of the Sterlite Industries at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.
He made this submission before a Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and H.L. Gokhale, hearing an appeal filed by Sterlite Industries against a Madras High Court judgment directing closure of the plant.
The court in October 2010 had stayed the judgment and is now in the process of final hearing of the case.
During the resumed hearing, Mr. Vaiko referred to the observations made by the judges in the last hearing on October 10 that in environmental matters the court would have to consider the opinion of experts, and explained how the reports were at variance to one another.
He said: “The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in its report submitted before this court on December 7, 2010 stated that Sterlite Industries has exceeded the standards of ambient air quality, and ground water quality exceeded drinking water standards.”
Regarding soil quality, he said the samples showed high concentration of arsenic lead and pointed out environmental contaminations.
“Now the very same TNPCB has submitted the joint report on October 10 along with Central Pollution Control Board that there is no pollution, no contamination and all the conditions have been complied with. The CPCB in its report submitted on January 22 had stated that consent to operate the plant were not renewed due to non compliance of certain conditions. The very same CPCB now gives a clean chit.”
Further Mr. Vaiko said “the NEERI in its report of May 2011 had clearly pointed out that Sterlite Industries was run without valid consent and it was allowed to operate for 44 months.”