‘900 tonnes of sulphuric acid removed from Sterlite plant’

Material being transported to various industries, says Collector

Nearly 900 tonnes of sulphuric acid have been removed until Thursday evening from the Sterlite Copper plant after a leak was detected at one of its storage units.

Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that 40 tankers carrying the acid had left the plant to various industries in Thoothukudi, Coimbatore, Salem and northern parts of Tamil Nadu. Sources said that nearly 200-300 tonnes of acid remain to be evacuated.

Meanwhile, a senior official with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board toldThe Hindu that the material stocked inside the plant should be removed as soon as possible. “If you leave a house locked for a long time and if there’s an LPG cylinder, there are chances of an accident. So, the material should be removed,” he said.

Vedanta, the parent company of Sterlite Copper, in a petition submitted to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking immediate restoration of power supply and access for maintenance personnel to the plant, had said that it would lead to a “catastrophe” if inflammable material were not removed immediately.

The company claimed that there were a number of chemicals in the plant, including phosphoric acid, resins and other material, which if left unattended, could prove to be hazardous.

‘Don’t restore power’

K. Kanakaraj, state executive council member of the CPI(M) and one of the petitioners in a case filed in the Madras High Court seeking closure of the Sterlite plant, said the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company need not restore power supply at the company to evacuate the material.

“Every industry will have diesel generators. That should be sufficient to evacuate the chemicals,” Mr. Kanakaraj said.