THOOTHUKUDI: Over 200 Sterlite employees had been allowed inside the premises to associate the acid evacuation process even though the court had denied their requests. District collector Sandeep Nanduri said that the employees are allowed inside the premises only based on the recommendations of the High Powered Committee.
Following the closure of the copper smelter, the state government sealed the unit on May 28. The district administration had also cut power supply and water connection to the unit subsequently.The red category industry witnessed a minor leak in the sulphuric acid storage tanks in the middle of June and the district administration flung into action for evacuating all the acid dykes. When the Sterlite approached Madurai bench of Madras High court seeking power supply and minimal manpower for maintenance, the court denied it while directing to utilise diesel generator for evacuation process.
Following the recommendations of the High Powered committee that inspected the unit after minor leakage, the district administration begun to shift all the acids and materials to the required allied companies in the state.
According to sources, even though the court denied permission for the employees to enter the sealed unit, the authorities had allowed over 200 employees to carry out the maintenance works.When asked in a press brief, district collector said that the employees are allowed for the maintenance works based on the recommendations of the High Powered committee since the technical experts can only handle the acid evacuation process. They work for three shifts in a day for evacuation process, he said and added that the unit remains sealed as per the government order.
Nanduri added that the evacuation of 99 per cent of the acids have been completed and the remaining would be neutralised in the unit itself. Moreover, over 40,000 tonnes of gypsum and 20000 tonnes of rock phosphate have been shifted out, but it would take another one month for its completion since it is stocked in large quantity, he further said.