MADURAI: Citing the sulphuric acid leak incident, Vedanta Group’s general manager (Legal) Satyapriya approached the Madras High Court’s Bench in Madurai, praying to restore the electricity supply to Sterlite Copper at Thoothukudi. She stated that the leak occurred due to the inexplicable inaction by the State government.
In the 18-page petition, the petitioner, who is also the authorised signatory of Vedanta, submitted that the Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited (TANTRANSCO) disconnected the power grid supply to the copper smelter plant in the wee hours of May 24, without serving any notice/order. Thereafter, on the same day at 05.27 pm, the order dated May 23 was sent through email.
Further, the unplanned shutdown was carried out rapidly by the authorities, despite the employees of the plant explaining the risk of such abrupt shutdown in an existing plant with machines and raw materials, including hazardous chemicals.
The petitioner submitted that on May 25, 26 and on June 2, representations were made to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) seeking minimum restoration of electricity on the plant premises to maintain the emergency services and avert any disaster due to leakages and accidents in plant. However, the representation was not considered, the petitioner said.
While so, on June 16, the Thoothukudi district environmental engineer sent a WhatsApp message, requesting immediate action to arrest the leakage in sulphuric acid storage tank, the petitioner said.
Apprehending that the leakage was an act of sabotage, as there was insufficient security apparatus in and around the plant, there was a grave risk and danger to other tanks located inside the plan with flammable chemicals, the petitioner contended that the leakage was due to the irresponsible approach of the officials and the complete disconnection was a serious threat.