The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the Tuticorin district administration to file a detailed response as to whether they require power, water supply as well as Sterlite’s expert supervision for evacuating the hazardous substances inside the factory. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Vedanta on Tuesday which sought a direction to TNPCB to allow limited manpower to rectify the leakage of sulphuric acid that occurred inside the Sterlite Copper factory with adequate police protection, and also supply of electricity to maintain the plant for the safety of chemical materials stored within the plant premises. The petition was filed by the general manager (legal), Sterlite Copper.
The matter was taken up by a bench comprising Justices Basheer Ahmed and CT Selvam. The bench has asked the company to submit a list of items which need immediate attention. The matter has been adjourned till June 25. The court also observed that in case the state government authorities consider themselves competent enough to do the evacuation by themselves, the same should be put on record and the state government will be held responsible for any accident if it happens while doing so. Though the company officials were tightlipped over the details of the petition, sources said the company contented the acid leak, which took place a few days ago, was severe and any delay in evacuating the said quantity of sulphuric acid may pose a grave threat.