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Sterlite plant row: TN govt slams Centre, calls Tuticorin ground water report “prejudiced”

By Vikas

Chennai, Sep 9: The Tamil Nadu government came down heavily on the Union Government over the report on the groundwater contamination in Tuticorin. The state government further demanded the Central government to immediately withdraw the report.

File photo of Sterlite protests

In May this year, there were massive protests in Thoothkudi (Tuticorin) over the Sterlite Copper plant, of the Vedanta Group, which left 13 people dead. The Tamil Nadu government then ordered the closure of the Tuticorin plant

The Ministry of Water Resources had instructed to the Central Ground Water Board to conduct a study on September 5, 2018 after the locals alleged the Sterlite plant, which has now been closed following protests, caused pollution and affected their health.

NGT will decide on Sterlite Copper at TuticorinNGT will decide on Sterlite Copper at Tuticorin

The Centre's report has stated that "it can't be claimed that the Sterlite industry is only cause of pollution."

"The state strongly feels that the report is motivated and has been prepared only to prejudice the government of Tamil Nadu and the TNPCB cases in various judicial fora. The law and order situation in and around Tuticorin has returned to normalcy and such an unscientific report will be likely to aggravate the law and order situation," the state government said, as per reports.

In a strongly-worded letter to the Union Ministry, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan hit back, saying the study was both inappropriate and unwarranted.

"It does not appear to be made on any scientific basis and it is not known how the two scientists who have submitted the report have made such a vague and an unsubstantiated statement in the report," Vaidyanathan said.

Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu to remain shut: NGTSterlite plant in Tamil Nadu to remain shut: NGT

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board ordered the closure of the plant on May 24, two days after police shot dead 13 civilians during the anti-Sterlite agitations in the district.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in July rejected Vedanta's request to grant interim stay on Tamil Nadu Government's order to shut down Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi.

Sterlite's factory had made headlines in March 2013 when a gas leak led to the death of one person and injuries to several others, after which then chief minister J Jayalalithaa had ordered its closure. The company had appealed to the NGT which had overturned the government's order. The state had moved the Supreme Court against it and the case is still pending.

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