Centre’s Thoothukudi groundwater report pro-Sterlite: Stalin

Chennai: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin on Sunday snubbed the Centre’s report on groundwater contamination in Thoothukudi district, where the Sterlite copper smelter plant is located and said that the analysis was pro-Sterlite.

Accusing the Centre of betraying Tamil Nadu, he said, “The Sterlite issue case goes on in Supreme Court, High Court and National Green Tribunal. Without considering those factors, the government betrayed Tamil Nadu and gives positive results for Sterlite to re-open.”

He even alleged that the state government was aware that the Centre was conducting a study and said, “The state government has enacted a drama as if they were not aware of the conducting analysis, in spite of Intelligence Bureau report.”

Commenting on the letter written by Tamil Nadu government to the Centre over the report, Stalin said, “Instead of writing a letter, the state government should file a case in Supreme Court.”

The Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, Girija Vaidyanathan has written the letter to the Ministry of Water Resources rejecting its report on groundwater contamination.
In the letter, addressed to Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources Upendra Prasad Singh, Vaidyanathan said, “The report is motivated and has been prepared only to prejudice the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) cases in various judicial fora. Such an unscientific report will be likely to aggravate the law and order situation. We reject the report and request you to immediately withdraw the entire report.”

On September 5, the Ministry of Water Resources had directed the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) to conduct a study on groundwater contamination in Thoothukudi.

The Centre, in the report, said: “It is to mention that the investigation team couldn’t enter into the premises of M/s. Sterlite Copper Industry for collection of representative samples from inside and outside of industry; because district authorities sealed the Sterlite Copper Plant following the Governments order to close down the plant permanently. Therefore, it can’t be stated that M/s. Sterilte Industry is the only cause of pollution indicated above.”

On May 28, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the closure of Sterlite plant following the death of 13 people in police firing during the anti-Sterlite agitations in the district on May 22. The people were protesting against the construction of the Sterlite copper plant, claiming that it was polluting groundwater, and was hazardous for the environment.