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TN govt doesn't have expertise, should not be allowed to take over Sterlite oxygen plant: Vedanta 

Vedanta's petition was filed in the wake of the Supreme Court asking Tamil Nadu government on why it can't take over the Sterlite Copper unit for producing oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients.

Published: 26th April 2021 10:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2021 10:39 AM   |  A+A-

Vedanta's Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Hours before a Supreme Court hearing and an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to discuss the issue over reopening of Sterlite plant, Vedanta Limited has filed a special leave petition asserting that the Tamil Nadu government should not be allowed to take over the oxygen plant, and claimed that the State government does not have the requisite operational expertise. 

"The running of the oxygen plant by the State Government is likely to pose grave danger not only to the assets but to the personnel deployed for operation, as the operation critically involves the
operation of high pressure vessels, heavy duty compressors, high voltage equipment and proprietary control systems. There is a high probability that if untrained personnel were to operate the oxygen plant, the quality of oxygen produced can be substandard and may not be safe for use," Vedanta said. 

Vedanta's petition was filed in the wake of the Supreme Court asking Tamil Nadu government on why it can't take over the Sterlite Copper unit for producing oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients.

"We are not interested that Vedanta or A, B or C runs it. We are interested that oxygen should be produced," a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde had said.
 
Palaniswami has convened an all-party meeting today afternoon soon after the Supreme Court hearing which is scheduled to start at 10.30 am. 

Vedanta said its oxygen plants have the capacity to produce 1,050 metric tonnes per day. The quantity of oxygen produced can be a significant portion in contrast to the entire oxygen produced in the country which is approximately 7,500 MT per day. 

"The only intent of the petitioner (Vedanta) in running the Oxygen Plant is to initiate the production within 7-14 days, in order to cater to states which are in need of oxygen supply for treating COVID patients. As the oxygen plant was not operated for the past three years, detailed inspection and maintenance by professionals is critical and it involves ensuring availability of spares, repair/replacement and
certification while ensuring safety of the equipment and personnel," the petition reads. 

Vedanta also claimed that there were no law and order problems.  

The public hearing called by Thoothukudi district collector on April 23 was attended by a select group of people most of whom were curiously known vocal opponents of the Sterilite and many of them even respondents in the present case.

"Such a congregation on the very day of the court hearing was bound to involve heated and heightened voices. This however cannot be said to be reflective of the public sentiment to the operation of the oxygen plants for the free supply of oxygen in these trying times. It is humbly submitted that opposition by those opposed to the petitioner’s plant cannot be reflective of a law and order problem which can override the national emergency for oxygen supply," Vedanta said. 



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