Sterlite Copper’s parent firm Vedanta Limited has approached the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court seeking to restore electricity supply to its copper smelter plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district, The New Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
Vedanta Group’s general manager for legal affairs Satyapriya submitted the petition, saying the company requires power supply and access for authorised personnel to plug a sulphuric acid leak that an inspection team detected in a warehouse at the plant on Sunday. Tuticorin District Collector Sandeep Nanduri on Wednesday told PTI that four tanker loads of sulphuric acid had been removed from the plant’s premises.
In her petition, Sterlite Copper said it had not been served notice before the power supply was disconnected on May 24, The Times of India. The company accused the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board of not considering its request for minimum restoration of electricity so that it could maintain emergency services and avert disasters due to leakages and accidents at the plant. “The government ought to have taken opinion from industry experts on safe shutdown of the plant,” the petition said.
For more than two decades, activists in Thoothukudi have accused Sterlite of contaminating the region’s air and water resources and causing breathing disorders, skin diseases, heart conditions and cancer. Since February, there were large-scale protests against the company’s copper smelter, which had the capacity to produce 4.38 lakh tonnes of anodes per annum, or 1,200 tonnes per day.