Tamil Nadu

Vedanta seeks CPCB nod for maintenance at Thoothukudi plant

‘Facility requires regular upkeep to prevent corrosion’

Vedanta Ltd. has sought permission from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to take up maintenance work at the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, which has been shut down for two years now.

In a letter written to the Board, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Pankaj Kumar said due to the lack of maintenance, there was a risk to the factory. Load bearing structures, acid tanks, pipelines and ducts, molten metal handling equipment, cooling towers, boiler panels and conveyor systems required regular maintenance to prevent corrosion, he said.

“We spend almost ₹200 crore annually on plant maintenance. A Local Monitoring Committee appointed by District Collector, Thoothukudi, earlier only permitted us to remove stored copper concentrate, rock phosphate, furnace oil, phospho gypsum and other such materials from the factory. However, our requests for care and maintenance of the facility have been continuously denied,” he pointed out.

Moreover, due to the sudden shutdown of factories in light of the lockdown, there were multiple reports of industrial accidents across the country. They emphasized the point that chemical and metallurgical plants required regular maintenance. The absence of regular maintenance may lead to serious incidents affecting employees, the community and ecosystem, Mr. Kumar added.

The company said the CPCB could first ascertain the plant’s condition by way of an inspection before issuing any orders.

The plant had been shut down and sealed by the TNPCB in May 2018, which had been challenged by the company before the National Green Tribunal, which subsequently was heard by the Supreme Court by way of an SLP and civil appeal. The matter was brought back to the Madras High Court, which in turn heard it and reserved orders in January.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 9:24:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vedanta-seeks-nod-for-maintenance-at-thoothukudi-plant/article31949064.ece

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