Vedanta's Sterlite Plant In Thoothukudi Alleges Massive Acid Leak, Seeks Restart Of Power Supply

| June 21 , 2018 , 09:19 IST

The management of Vedanta's controversial Sterlite Copper plant in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, the site of massive protests in May, reached out to the Madurai High Court demanding the restoration of power supply at the plant to deal with a sulphuric acid leak, media reported on Thursday.

Sterlite has alleged that the sulphuric acid gas leak is an act of sabotage and is of severe levels posing a grave risk and danger to the unit and areas surrounding it. Due to the seriousness of the acid leak, Sterlite has claimed that its own experts would be required to control the leak and that the government should restore power supply to the plant so that the leak may be controlled.

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"The petitioner found that there is a severe leakage from pipe flanges and the same cannot be arrested as the pipe flanges are submerged in acid pool collected in the dykes provided around the acid storage tank," said Sterlite.

"The Petitioner therefore requesting urgent intervention in the matter and once again sought minimum supply of electricity and manpower to evacuate the acid at the earliest," argues Sterlite.

"There is currently insufficient security in and around the plant and there is thus a grave risk and danger especially because there are other tanks as well as flammable materials within the same area," said Sterlite.

"Any such catastrophe would result in not only grave loss of lives and assets in and around the plant premises, but would also be of dire consequence to the environment in as much as the chances of the acid seeping into the soil and water are high," it said.

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According to reports, the company had first reached out to the state government directly for access to the plant but due to no lack of response, Sterlite then approached the court.

On May 22, large crowds gathered to protest against the setting up of a copper plant of Vedanta's Sterlite, alleging that the plant was polluting groundwater and causing health complications.

Since Section 144 had been imposed around the Sterlite plant, the protests took to the streets near the Collectors office in Thoothukudi and police were forced to disperse the crowds. The police used controversial firing to disperse the crowds resulting in the death of 13 people, which included 11 men and 2 women. Another 102 were injured out of which 19 are seriously injured.