Groundwater in Tamil Nadu's Sterlite plant area contaminated beyond permissible limits: Centre
Replying to questions posed by Sasikala Pushpa Ramaswamy, Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu, the Water Resources Ministry confirmed that ground water in Thoothukudi had been contaminated.
CHENNAI: The Centre on Monday confirmed that ground water in Thoothukudi had been polluted by Sterlite’s copper smelter plant. Replying to questions posed by Sasikala Pushpa Ramaswamy, Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu, the Water Resources Ministry confirmed that ground water in Thoothukudi had been contaminated by the Sterlite plant.
Sasikala Pushpa has asked Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, whether the government had initiated any steps to check the nature of ground water in Thoothukudi in the backdrop of the people’s agitation against the Sterlite plant, alleging it had contaminated ground water.
In a written response, the minister said the Central Ground Water Board had carried out a study to ascertain the ground water quality in and around the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) industrial area in Thoothukudi (wherein Sterlite is one of the industries). The study has indicated that most of the ground water samples are contaminated with high total dissolved solids (TDS) and heavy metals like lead, cadmium, chromium, manganese, iron and arsenic, which are beyond permissible limits of Bureau of Indian Standards’ (BIS) norms for drinking water.
“As per information received from the Central Board of Pollution Control, the analysis of ground water samples from the Sterlite industrial unit, by the State Pollution Control Board shows presence of iron, lead, fluoride, cadmium and nickel more than the permissible limit of BIS. The Sterlite unit was closed by the TNPCB on May 23 inter-alia, due to noncompliance with consent conditions,” the reply reads.
Meanwhile, in Lok Sabha, PMK MP from Dharmapuri Anbumani Ramadoss sought details of the recent Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the Sterlite copper plant. Replying to this, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan revealed that Sterlite filed an application, seeking fresh terms of reference for preparation of EIA report for expansion proposal on February 14, 2018, which was under consideration