It was argued that the plant had not been complying with pollution norms and the situation had severely deteriorated since 1996.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Monday on a batch of appeals against an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directing re-opening of the Sterlite industries at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
A bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and Navin Sinha had reser-ved verdict on February 7 at the conclusion of arguments from counsel for Tamil Nadu, Sterlite and DMDK leader Vaiko.
Mr Vaiko had strongly pleaded for a permanent closure of the copper smelting plant of the Sterlite Industries and to strike down the NGT’s order directing re-opening of the plant. He said that in environmental matters the court would have to consider the opinion of experts, and explained how the reports were at variance to one another.
He said “that Sterlite Industries has exceeded the standards of ambient air quality, and ground water quality exceeded drinking water standards. Regarding soil quality, he said the samples showed high concentration of arsenic lead and pointed out environmental contaminations Justifying the clousre oounsel for Tamil Nadu maintained that the NGT had not bestowed adequate and serious consideration of the environment pollution caused by Sterlite.
It was argued that the plant had not been complying with pollution norms and the situation had severely deteriorated since 1996. Far from taking precautionary steps, the unit had wilfully flouted the norms and caused the present appalling situation where the ground water is highly polluted in and around Thoothukudi, counsel said and pleaded for permanent closure of the plant.
However, counsel for Sterlite had argued that the order to close down the factory was taken due to political and malafide considerations. It was submitted that various groups had joined together to oppose the plant and see that it was closed permanently when there was no justifcation to do so.
The plant refuted the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s charge that it was responsible for air and water pollution and the resultant health hazards and said that not a single material was produced to justify the closure. It was argued that Sterlite was singled out for causing pollution though it contributed only one percent of the total emissions which is within the permissible limit.