TN rejects Centre’s ‘unscientific’ report on Sterlite

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Government has rejected Centre’s report on groundwater contamination in Thoothukudi district, where the Sterlite copper smelter plant is located.

Rebuffing the Union Ministry of Water Resources’ groundwater analysis, the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, Girija Vaidyanathan termed the report “vague and unscientific”.

In a 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.
Hitting out at the Centre for directing the CGWB to conduct the study without informing the Tamil Nadu government, Vaidyanathan said, “Extremely perturbed that ministry chose to commission a study and obtain report from Central Ground Water Board(Tuticorin without any intimation to Tamil Nadu government.”

“Circumstances under which ministry has asked CGWB to carry out assessment of quality of water when the matter is sub-judice to say the least, is lacking in bonafide,” the letter added.

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.