Provide access for safety audit: Vedanta to TN govt

Provide access for safety audit: Vedanta to TN govt

Government officials seal a copper smelter controlled by London-listed Vedanta Resources in Thoothukudi in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India, May 28, 2018. REUTERS

A minor leak of sulphuric acid from a storage tank in the closed Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin has prompted factory officials to once again request the Tamil Nadu government to provide "limited access" to the unit and minimal power supply to take up "mandatory safety audits".

The minor leak was detected in the sulphuric acid storage tank in the plant on Saturday evening during a surveillance by the police, revenue divisional officials and local administration.

Stating that its executives were assisting district authorities in handling the situation, the company said it had been requesting the state government "to give limited manpower access and minimal power supply so that mandatory safety audits can be carried out at the copper smelter."

"That request is still pending. We once again urge the government to give us at least restricted access to the copper smelter," it said in a statement.

The company pointed out that its officials have had no access to the plant ever since it was closed by the government last month.

On May 28, the state government had issued a Government Order directing the Pollution Control Board to seal the plant and close it down permanently following the violent protests over pollution concerns, leading to police firing in which 13 people were killed.

The GO said it endorsed the recent closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, and also asked it to seal the unit and close the plant permanently.

Meanwhile, Tuticorin District Collector Sandeep Nanduri told reporters that the officials were engaged in stopping the leak from the unit since last night.

"Officers from Pollution Control Board, Inspector of Factories, Revenue and police officials are at the plant to evacuate the sulphuric acid from the facility. Mostly by tomorrow afternoon, we expect the work to be completed," he said.