Vedanta made at least ₹20,000 cr. in 20 years: TNPCB

‘Company cannot say it is suffering because of closure of Sterlite plant’

Published - January 08, 2020 01:32 am IST - CHENNAI

THOOTHUKUDI, TAMIL NADU, 21/05/2019: A view of the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi . Photo : N. Rajesh

THOOTHUKUDI, TAMIL NADU, 21/05/2019: A view of the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi . Photo : N. Rajesh

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Tuesday vehemently defended the decision to permanently close down the Sterlite copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi and claimed that its owners, Vedanta Limited, would have earned at least than ₹20,000 crore ever since the plant was commissioned in 1997.

Arguing before a Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and V. Bhavani Subbaroyan, senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan decried the repeated assertion made on behalf of Vedanta that it had invested around ₹3,000 crore on the copper plant and that the State government could not shut it down abruptly citing environmental concerns.

Referring to one of the affidavits filed by the company claiming to be losing ₹5 crore a day ever since the plant was closed down permanently in May 2018, the senior counsel, who had commenced arguing the matter for the TNPCB after advocates T. Mohan and A. Yogeshwaran completed their arguments on behalf of anti-Sterlite activists, said even going by its own submission, the company would have earned at least ₹1,500 crore every year.

“In the last 20 years since the operations began, they would have made at least ₹20,000 crore. After having made such huge profits, they cannot cry hoarse today that they are suffering because of closure. On the other hand, the damage caused to the environment by the plant is much greater,” the senior counsel said.

Assisted by TNPCB standing counsel Abdul Saleem, Mr. Vaidyanathan said, “It has been proven conclusively through scientific evidence that no amount of remedial measures taken by them (Vedanta) will improve the water quality in the locality. The only way to save the environment is to close down the unit.

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