March 31, 2013
Tuticorin (TN): Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Saturday ordered closure of Sterlite Industries copper smelter unit here in the wake of alleged gas leak last week, but the company said it would convince authorities on safety measures installed.
Hours after TNPCB ordered its shutdown, Sterlite asserted it is operating the unit for the last 17 years with approvals and consent by regulatory authorities and it adheres to highest standards of environment, health and safety practices.
Reacting to the closure order, Sterlite said in a statement, “We will engage with TNPCB to explain the factual position and are committed to co-operate fully with authorities in this regard in order to be able to restart operations.”
The company stressed that its facility had undergone continuous technological upgradation based on recommendations of TNPCB and NEERI. “We provided to TNPCB all technical details of the operations, which confirms that all parameters and key readings of the particular period of March 23 were well within the permissible range. However, TNPCB has ordered the closure of the plant.”
Company officials said they had started closing down the operations of the unit complying with the TNPCB order, which came a week after an unspecified gas allegedly leaked in the area on March 23, causing mild suffocation, sore throat and eye irritation to several people in the locality.
“The District administration also issued a press note confirming that no case of illness was reported on account of alleged emission, based on a report of District health officials,”it said.
The company said since all parameters were found within permissible levels and there were no cases of illness, it believed that this should have been the subject matter of detailed TNPCB technical evaluation.
TNPCB, under instructions from District Collector Ashish Kumar, issued a notice directing the Vedanta group company to close the plant.