MAC: Mines and Communities

Vedanta/Sterlite dammed - yet again!

Published by MAC on 2019-03-30
Source: Times of India

Polluting smelter ruled unfit for purpose

Tamil Nadu state government declares Vedanta/Sterlite a "chronic defaulter", guilty of "global malpractices, environmental and human rights concerns", while also practising gross deception.

It's a story that's been told on many occasions over the past two decades and longer, as MAC readers will know only too well [see: Tuticorin: a byword for infamy.]


Madras high court again bars Sterlite from entering plant

Suresh Kumar

Times of India

March 28 2019

CHENNAI: Terming Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper a ‘chronic’ defaulter, Tamil
Nadu government on Wednesday submitted in Madras high court that
‘unrestrained pollution appears to be the standard modus operandi of the
company, as it has been found guilty of various violations globally’.

“Their global malpractices, environmental and human rights concerns make
it a party unfit for being granted discretionary relief at an interim
stage by the court,” Shambhu Kallolikar, principal secretary to department
of environment and forest to the state, said through a counter affidavit,
opposing Sterlite’s plea seeking access to the company’s premises in
Tuticorin for care and maintenance of the plant.

However, the court refused any interim relief to Sterlite.

When the pleas moved by Sterlite came up for hearing before a division
bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Nirmalkumar, senior counsel for
the company Aryama Sundaram submitted that only Sterlite is being
continuously targeted and propagated in negative light and that it is part
of a vicious design.

“Thousands of people have been unemployed since the closure of the plant
and its reopening is not only an industrial issue today but is of the
common cause for the welfare and dignified livelihood of the people of
Tamil Nadu,” Sundaram said.

Claiming that more than 1,000 crore worth machinery installed in the plant
needs care and maintenance, Sundaram said, on average, the company spends
around 60 crore annually on maintenance. The senior counsel then pressed
for interim relief granting access to the plant for the limited purpose of
maintenance and care.

Recording the submissions, the bench, however, refused any interim relief
to Sterlite and posted the pleas to April 23 for further hearing.

The state government earlier submitted that the past conduct of the unit
does not inspire any confidence, or in fact permit access to the unit, as
the petitioner, on a prior occasion, was allowed to retain possession and
maintain the unit post refusal of consent to operate, on April 9, 2018.

“However, the petitioner abused the long rope given by authorities and it
was found on inspection that it was carrying out activities to resume
production operation. Thus, no access can be granted to the petitioner,
who has a demonstrable history of acting in contravention of the law.
Equally, no discretionary relief can be granted by this court in light of
the instant facts,” said senior counsel C S Vaidyanathan appearing for
TNPCB [Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board].

The petitioner is blatantly trying to achieve indirectly what it cannot
achieve directly. By seeking to revive and maintain the plant in an
‘as-new’ state, the petitioner is attempting to keep the plant ready to
resume operations, Vaidyanathan added.


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