CHENNAI: Talking tough on the Sterlite issue, the Tamil Nadu government on Saturday rejected the unilateral report submitted by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in support of the Sterlite plant at Thoothukudi and asked the Centre to withdraw it immediately since the statutory authority - the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board - had already conducted a detailed analysis.
The chief secretary, Girija Vaidyanathan, in her letter to the Union Water Resources Secretary, said the State government was extremely perturbed at the Union Ministry’s decision to ask the CGWB to conduct an analysis of the quality of water around the Sterlite plant without any intimation to the State government or the statutory authorities including the TNPCB.
“The State government strongly feels that the report is motivated and has been prepared only to prejudice the Tamil Nadu government and TNPCB cases pending before various fora,” the chief secretary said and pointed out that the law-and-order situation in and around Thoothukudi, which had returned to normalcy, could be aggravated due to such an unscientific CGWB report.
Referring to the portion of CGWB report saying the investigating agency couldn’t enter into the premises of Sterlite plant for collection of samples from inside and outside of industry and therefore, it could not be stated that the Sterlite plant was the only cause of pollution, the chief secretary said, “This conclusion, which appears to support the Sterlite Industry, is totally unwarranted, besides, being absolutely vague, and is not supported by any empirical data whatsoever.”
Girija Vaidyanathan also said the report did not appear to be made on any scientific basis and it was not known how the two scientists, who submitted the report, had made such a vague and unsubstantiated statement in the report.
Recalling that the TNPCB had already conducted a detailed analysis of all relevant factors and took a decision to refuse renewal of consent for the Sterlite plant, she said the TNPCB had concluded that the level of pollution caused by the plant had gravely affected the health and safety of residents in the locality, warranting closure of the industry.
“To safeguard the environment, a fundamental duty is imposed on the State by virtue of Article 48-A of the Constitution of India and hence the Tamil Nadu government had ordered permanent closure of the industry,” she added.