Two days after government trucks began removal of sulphuric leakages from the factory, the Vedanta-owned Sterlite has approached the High Court seeking a restoration of power supply.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, General Manager(Legal) of the Vedanta Group has filed an 18-page petition with the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
A day after 13 civilians were gunned by the police during the anti-Sterlite protests on 22 May, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has also issued directions for closure and disconnection of power supply to the Unit. This was followed by the closure of the plant on 28 May.
However, early on Monday, 18 May, a sulphuric acid leak was discovered at the plant and the government had pressed into service trucks that would remove the discharge.
According to one report in the Times of India, with the absence of power supply, acid was pumped through diesel generators. The petition also calls for permission to access the plant in order to undertake maintenance work.
The petition alleges that the power shutdown has affected minimum functioning of the plant, causing hardship to the employees.
Further, the company alleges, “The government ought to have taken opinion from industry experts on safe shutdown of the plant.”
In a response to the leak, the company said in a statement, “In fact, anticipating such incidents in the absence of regular maintenance, we have been requesting the state government to give us limited manpower access and minimal power supply so that mandatory safety audits at the smelter can be regularly carried out. That request is still pending. We once again urge the government to give us at least restricted access to the copper smelter. We have had no access to the plant ever since it was suddenly sealed and locked with effect from 28 May 2018.”
Published in an arrangement with The News Minute