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A resident of Thoothukudi moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to initiate criminal prosecution against Vedanta, the holding company of Sterlite Copper, for polluting the Uppar in Thoothukudi.

The petitioner, S. P. Muthuraman of Thoothukudi, who had filed a public interest litigation petition against the commissioning of the second phase of Sterlite’s copper smelting plant, alleged that the company had released industrial waste, particularly copper slag, into the Uppar.

He pointed out that Vedanta was supposed to intimate the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Thoothukudi District Environmental Engineer, where the copper slag would be dumped. If there was a violation in this regard, the authorities concerned had the power to refuse renewal of licence.
‘Action lacking’

A total of 3.52 lakh tonnes of industrial waste was dumped so far by the plant without any intimation to the authorities, most of which was dumped into the Uppar, he alleged. Though the company had promised to address the issue following complaints from the public, no action had been initiated. Though the TNPCB and the district authorities could initiate criminal prosecution for the environmental damage, the authorities had not taken action on this regard, he complained and sought appropriate action against Vedanta.

The petitioner, in a separate PIL petition, complained that the Spotted Deer Sanctuary in Gangaikondan Reserve Forest in Tirunelveli was facing the impact of SIPCOT industrial estate that operated close by. Noise and water pollution was a concern, he said and sought a direction to the authorities to act immediately.

A Division Bench of Justices K. K. Sasidharan and G. R. Swaminathan heard both the petitions and directed notice to Vedanta and the district authorities and adjourned the case.


English Summary

HC orders notice to Vedanta on pollution of Uppar

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