Committee inspects Sterlite Copper plant to facilitate safe removal of gypsum

The Hindu Bureau

The nine-member panel was constituted by Thoothukudi Collector K. Senthil Raj following Supreme Court directions; 1.25 lakh tonnes of gypsum needs to be shifted out of the plant

Committee inspects Sterlite Copper plant to facilitate safe removal of gypsum

Spot inspection: Members of the Local Management Committee at the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi on Wednesday. N. Rajesh N. Rajesh

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Thursday, 8th June 2023
Page No. 8
Chennai Print Edition

The Local Management Committee, which was constituted by Collector K. Senthil Raj for the safe removal of gypsum from the sealed Sterlite Copper campus following instructions from the Supreme Court, visited the plant on Wednesday.

In the wake of the killing of 13 persons in a police firing during the anti-Sterlite agitation, the district administration sealed the plant on May 23, 2018. Subsequently, it took steps to remove 14 materials — sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrofluorosilicic acid, isopropyl alcohol, liquefied petroleum gas, high-speed diesel, light diesel oil, heavy furnace oil, lubricants, liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen, rock phosphate, copper concentrate and gypsum — from the 500-acre premises.

Except for 1.25 lakh tonnes of gypsum, all materials had been removed from the plant. Hence, the district administration, following instructions from the Supreme Court, formed a nine-member committee, headed by Thoothukudi Sub-Collector Gourav Kumar, to monitor the removal of the gypsum and other hazardous materials, if any, from the premises.

Mr. Kumar, along with the other members of the committee — Deputy Superintendent of Police (Thoothukudi Rural) Suresh; Joint Director of Industrial Safety and Health (Thoothukudi) Saravanan; District Environmental Engineer Hemanth Jayson; District Fire Officer Raj; Executive Engineer (Planning), Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation, Ranganathan; Block Development Officer (Ottapidaaram) Ramraj; Chief Engineer of Sterlite Copper Saravanan; and Managing Coordinator Viswanathan — inspected the plant. The inspection lasted over one-and-a-half hours.

CCTV surveillance

The members took note of the thorny bushes that had grown inside the plant due to lack of maintenance. They also visited the exit point, through which the evacuation of gypsum would be carried out between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and discussed the installation of CCTV cameras at this point. Though police personnel would be deployed here round the clock, every movement at the exit point would also be monitored from the control room set up at the Sub-Collector’s Office, as the CCTV cameras would be linked to it.

Police personnel were deployed near the plant’s main entrance and other vital areas in view of the inspection.

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