Tamil Nadu

Withdraw report favouring Sterlite: govt.

 A view of the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi.

A view of the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi.

The State government has rejected the study report of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) on the groundwater contamination in Thoothukudi, which appears to support Sterlite Copper.

The law and order situation in and around Thoothukudi has returned to normality (after the police firing in which 13 people died) and an unscientific report would aggravate the situation, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan said, in a letter to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources.

She asked the Ministry to withdraw the entire report as its conclusion — ‘It can’t be stated that M/s Sterlite Industry is the only cause of pollution’ — was totally unwarranted. “Besides being absolutely vague and not supported by any empirical data whatsoever, it does not appear to be made on any scientific basis,” she charged. “The State of Tamil Nadu strongly feels that the report is motivated and has been prepared only to prejudice the Tamil Nadu government and the TNPCB cases in various judicial fora,” she said.

The Tamil Nadu government was perturbed that the Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR, Government of India, chose to commission a study and obtain a report from Central Ground Water Board without any intimation to the government or to any statutory authorities including the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

Health affected

After detailed investigation and analysis, the TNPCB has concluded that pollution caused by Sterlite Copper Smelting Plant has gravely affected the health and safety of residents and it warranted closure of the industry.

To safeguard the environment, the government had ordered permanent closure of the industry. The circumstances under which the Union Water Resources Minister has commissioned the report, especially when TNPCB had conducted detailed studies and when the matter was sub-judice before the Appellate Authority, National Green Tribunal, Madras High Court and the Supreme Court, were inappropriate at this point of time and lacking in bonafides, the Chief Secretary pointed out.

The letter also quoted excerpts from the CGWB report that it cannot be stated that Sterlite industry alone was the only cause of pollution as the investigative team could not enter the premises.

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Printable version | Oct 5, 2022 11:37:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/withdraw-report-favouring-sterlite-govt/article24905508.ece