The National Green Tribunal heard the arguments put forth by Sterlite Industries on the case regarding the closure of its plant in Tuticorin district by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
The board order for closure of the copper smelting plant on complaints of alleged gas leakage from the unit. Senior Advocate CA Sundaram, who represented Sterlite, in the hearing argued that Sterlite has invested over Rs 4,000 crore in the copper smelting plant and the same was evident from the state-of-the-art scrubbing system installed (for cleaning the emissions) in the unit.
He argued that according to the complaints received from 12 individuals and three organisations, residents of Tuticorin town were affected by the alleged gas leak between 5.45 AM and 7 AM on March 23 from the Sterlite plant despite presence of several other units in the same industrial estate.
He raised the question as to how the gas, which had allegedly leaked from the plant and affected residents of the town located around eight km away, had bypassed all the other villages located between the unit and affected area.
He remarked that the closure of the plant was "politically motivated". The entire matter is politically motivated. There were no complaints (of alleged leakage) before and after that day (March 23, 2013), he said before the tribunal.