Makkal Athikaram supported the Tuticorin People’s protest against the Sterlite from the begining of their struggle. During the period October 26 – 28, Makkal Athikaaram intervened the  hearing of the appeal in VEDANTA Ltd. vs. STATE OF TAMILNADU case, before the National Green Tribunal. Here is the copy of the written submission submitted before the Principal bench of the  NGT.


IN APPEAL No.87/2018


Mobile No: 9489235314


IN APPEAL No.87/2018

I) Hazardous Wastes Management

  1. M/s. Vedanta Ltd obtained Environmental Clearance for present production on 09.08.2007 from Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India. A specific condition. A(v) imposed that ETP cake and Scrubber cake shall be stored in secured landfill at the site till TSDF in Tamil Nadu is functional. The ground water quality around the landfill site shall be monitored and data be submitted to the Ministry/TNPCB. (Page No.263 of the Intervener’s Documents compilation)
  2. Hazardous Wastes Authorization for 5 years was obtained on 10.07.2008 from TNPCB. (Page No.451 of TN Govt Document compilation T1)

As per the authorization

  • The following shall be disposed in secured landfill after stabilization (Condition No.23)

(i) Arsenic bearing sludge (ETP Cake)                   – Semi Solid       – 43,800 T/year
(ii) Scrubber Cake                                             – Semi Solid        – 58,400 T/year
(iii) Spent Catalyst                                            – Solid          – 4 MT/ year
(iv) DM resin
(Toxic Metal containing residue from used-ion
Exchange material in water purification)                – Semi Solid – 5000 MT/year.

  • As per condition no.28 after carrying out Toxic Characteristics Leaching Procedure (TCLP) tests for the waste generated, only stabilized wastes meeting TCLP standards shall be disposed in the landfill.


  • No valid HW authorization after 10.07.2013. Operated till 23.05.2018 for 58 months without authorization for collection, storage, transport & disposal in secured landfill of Hazardous Wastes of lakhs of tones.
  • No TCLP test and Ground Water analysis conducted and reports had been submitted to TNPCB and Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • After the lapse of two years on 07.09.2015 only M/s.Vedanta Ltd submitted the application for renewal of Authorization in a prescribed form. In that application it is mentioned that Scrubber cake be disposed in onsite secured landfill. (Page No.438 of the Intervener’s Documents compilation)
  • In the application submitted on 31.01.2018 for renewal of CTO M/s.Vedanta Ltd mentioned about scrubber cake been dispose to beneficial users, but no valid agreement with the beneficial users quoting quantity of disposal has been annexed with the same. (Page No.458 of the Intervener’s Documents compilation)
  • TNPCB from 2016 to 2018 on various occasions while returning the application for renewal of HW Authorization, asked for the valid agreement with the beneficial users quoting quantity of disposal of scrubber cake, which not produced by the Unit. On this ground also TNPCB not renewed HW authorization. (Page No.467 of TN Govt Document compilation T1).
  • Violating the Environmental Clearance, HW authorization scrubber cake of 15,038.93 MT was sold to the beneficial users as claimed by M/s. Vedanta Ltd in the year 2016. (Page No.482 of TN Govt Document compilation T1).
  • No account for the generation of 29,057.13 MT of Scrubber Cake – 2016-17
    In the Hazardous Waste annual return submitted by M/s. Vedanta for April 2016 to March 2017 – Annual generation of Scrubber cake is shown as 15,645 MT/year only, which is not matched with the annual production of Copper Anodes of 3,35,266 MT/year. The consented quantity of production of Copper Anodes is 4,38,000 MT/year from which 7.5% be generated as Scrubber cake of 58,400 MT/year. While so for the production of Copper Anodes in the year 2016-2017, the Scrubber cake generation should be 44,702.13 MT/year. No account for the generation of 29,057.13 MT. (Page No.481 of TN Govt Document compilation T1).

Variation in Annual Generation of ETP Cake and Scrubber Cake:

From the NEERI 2011 report and the Annual HW returns submitted the following  tabular column drawn

Year Copper Concentrate
(in MT)
Anode production
(in MT)
ETP cake
(in MT)
Scrubber Cake
(in MT)
2008-09 10,47,300 3,02,688 28747 33473
2009-10 11,33,851 3,32,118 33012 37980.86
2010-11 10,52,432 3,02,170.79 12510 22613.99
2014-15   8,24,062 2,42,228 21975 25751
2015-16 11,74,955 3,45,372 33719 22051
2016-17 11,40,574 3,35,266 37050 15645

No account for difference in the generation of ETP Cake and Scrubber Cake. For the similar amount of Copper Concentration used and Copper Anode Produced, the generation of Hazardous Wastes varies in huge percentage. For ETP cake, comparison of 2008-09 with 2010-11 and for Scrubber cake comparison of 2009-10 with 2016-17 shows the variation which is much higher.

(NEERI 2011 Report – Page No.289 Table 4.1 r/w Page No.345 Table No.10.1 in the Intervener Compilation)
(Annual HW returns – Page No.480 to 490 in TN govt compilation T1)

II) Heavy Metal – Lead content in Ground water samples taken from Villages around M/s. Vedanta Ltd

0.05 mg / L- Drinking Water Standards

Place where ground water tested 1994
Line – EIA
2005 NEERI Study 2015
2016 TNPCB Max 2017 TNPCB Max Mar 2018 TNPCB
Kayaloorani (Bore well) 0.53 0.18 0.988 0.221 0.909 0.464
Kayaloorani (Dug Well) 0.5 0.267
Meelavittan (Borewell) <0.01 0.52 0.279 0.24 0.690 0.264 0.226 0.110
Madathur (Borewell) 0.52 0.407 0.11
(Dug Well)
0.55 0.063 0.11
Madathur Entrance
(Open Well)
ND 0.946 0.27 0.227 0.217
Opp to Koil (Open Well)
0.712 0.116 0.226 0.277
Kayaloorani 0.45 0.988 0.221 0.909 0.464
Kayaloorani (Kanagavel house) 0.36
T.V.Puram (Borewell) <0.01 0.35 0.65  0.36 0.908 0.55
Pandarampatti (Bore Well) 1.001 0.38 0.914 0.396
(Bore Well)
ND 1.1 0.321 0.223 0.214
Kumareddiyaa Puram
(Bore Well)
0.997 0.297 0.886 0.386
  • Baseline Data : Page No.115 in TN Govt Document Compilation T1
  • NEERI Report 1998 : Table.6.13 in Page No.44 r/w Table.6.3 in page no.35 of Intervener Compilation
  • NEERI Report 1999 : Table.9 in Page No.87 r/w Table.7 in page no.85 of Intervener Compilation
  • NEERI Report 2005 : Table 5.5 in Page No.215 of Intervener Compilation
  • TNPCB Analysis: Page 90 to 97 in TN Govt Document Compilation T1

Health effects – Lead

A Health study published in support of National Institute of Health, United States of America says Lead exposure include the ingestion lead-contaminated food or drinking water and inhalation. It pervades almost ever organ and system in the Human Body, but the main target for lead toxicity is the Central Nervous System, both in adults and children. Lead is more toxic in young children and unborn children than in older children and adults. Brain damage, mental retardation, behavioral problems, developmental delays, violence, death at high levels of exposure, damage of sense organs, nerves controlling the body, impaired cognitive function, hearing and vision impairment. Other important health effects are renal diseases, cardiovascular outcomes, hypertension, infertility, muscle and joint pain, cataracts and memory & concentration problems.
(Annexed with this Written submissions)

Heavy Metals presence in the process including Lead

  • The chemical testing done by M/s. Vedanta Ltd in the year 2017 in its own lab shows that Lead content in its Copper Concentrate is 10 mg/kg to 10,000 mg/kg.
    (Page No.509 of TN Govt Compilation T1)
  • NEERI conducted an Environmental Audit in the year 2005 and reported the presence of heavy metals in the process.
Heavy Metals ISA-ESP Dust mg/kg Granulate Slag from RHF mg/kg ESP Dust mg/kg Granulated Slag from SCF
ETP Cake
Arsenic 2971 221 2747 204 432 40.25
Lead 25151 22 36946 165 67 29.31
Zinc 22734 15.35 21280 928 52 13.8
Nickel 176 220 19
Cadmium 5322 4992
Copper 304000 162 282000 3363 404 101

 Zero Liquid Discharge not operated properly

[i] RO plant-II for treating effluents and MEE & Centrifuge not in operation

From 14.3.2017 inspection report point no.9 it is noted that Multiple Effect Evaporator (MEE) & Centrifuge were not in operation for days together.

[ii] RO-III has been removed and it was not functioned for many years

 From the TNPCB inspection report dt 14.03.2017

Not in operation. Mechanical Vapour Recompressor (MVR) and Centrifuge also not in operation. TNPCB consent order dt 13.04.2016 in Pg No. 268 of TN Govt Compilation T2 also noted that RO-III has been removed and directed to install the same.

In its compliance letter dt 31.01.2018 M/s. Vedanta Ltd stated that it installed RO-III and commissioned its operation.
(Page No.649 of TN Govt Document compilation T1 –Annexure 5G).

While it is found that RO-II and RO-III is not in operation, M/s. Vedanta Ltd statement recorded in the TNPCB inspection report dt 22.02.2018 that Ro-I was not in operation since the water is purchased from M/s. South Ganga desalination plant. R.O –II was not in operation since the treated effluent from ETP is treated in RO-III, because there is no storm water to be treated at present. If there is rain/storm, the storm water will be treated in the R.O –III. Since no rain at present this R.O-III is used for the treated effluent.

This clearly indicates that by misleading statements M/s. Vedanta Ltd is suppressed the fact that it’s ZLD is not properly operated, effluents were not treated properly.

[iii] No flow meter and log book maintenance

  • Separate flow meter at inlet and outlet of each ETP not provided
  • Log books for ETPs not maintained.

NEERI’s 1999 report’s finding on ZLD

“Required to maintain a log book recording the water intake and consumption vis-à-vis waste water generation which should be regularly inspected by the TNPCB followed by the submission of a report endorsing the zero discharge claimed to be practiced by the industry is true.”
(Page No.109 of the Intervener’s Documents compilation)

5) Higher quantity of accumulated Copper Slag leads to pollution:

In the NEERI 2005 Report, it is found that (i) the Granulated Slag from Rotary Holding Furnace (RHF) contains the predominant metals – arsenic (221 mg/kg), Lead (22 mg/kg), zinc (15.35 mg/kg) and copper (162 mg/kg). (ii) the Granulated Slag from Slag cleaning Furnace (SCF) contains the predominant metals – arsenic (204 mg/kg), Lead (165 mg/kg), Zinc (928 mg/kg), Nickel (176 mg/Kg) and Copper (162 mg/kg). Though concentration of Arsenic in Slag exceed the stipulated limit of 50 mg/kg, the Slag is not listed as Hazardous Waste due to the inert nature, high stability and poor leachability.  But the same time it is recommended that a decision to be taken by the TNPCB whether to designate the RHF slag as hazardous or otherwise as it is a high volume-low effect waste. (Page No.227, 228, 229, 230 of the Intervener Compilation).

On the other hand research studies submitted by the Govt of Tamil Nadu shows that Copper Slag can release these highly toxic elements into environment causing pollution. They are highly toxic if present overabundant. Moreover, in the Environmental Clearances dt 22.02.2008 and 01.01.2009, the MoEF imposed the condition that Only non-hazardous slag shall be used for road construction. TCLP test as per the CPCB guidelines shall be carried out before using slag for the road construction. Use of hazardous slag for road construction shall be immediately stopped. (page no.186 and 206 of TN Govt compilation T2).

For several years without any concern to environment M/s. Vedanta Ltd dumped the Copper Slag in various open places in lakhs of tons which caused significant pollution even if it is considered as Non- Hazardous waste. Moreover it is stated by Therku Veerapandiapuram (T.V.Puram) villagers that M/s. Vedanta Ltd dumped Hazardous Wastes, Gypsum around the factory premises, over that copper slag has been dumped in huge quantity.

  • Non- Responsibility of M/s. Vedanta Ltd in the removal of Copper Slag:

The NGT Southern Bench through its order dated 08.09.2017 in Application no.158 of 2017 (SZ) observed that if the copper slag dumped near Uppar Odai is not removed as per the undertaken given by the M/s. Vedanta Ltd to the District Collector, TNPCB has to take appropriate action. Till the closure of the Unit, no steps for removal of the copper slag has been taken by them.
(Page No.109 of the Intervener’s Documents compilation)

But this NGT order was suppressed by M/s. Vedanta Ltd before this Hon’ble Committee.

6) No clean chit given by the Supreme Court in its 2013 year Judgement

The Apex Court in its judgment came to a final conclusion that conditions imposed by the Environmental authorities for effective control of pollution is complied with and therefore permitted the functioning of the unit with a clarification that the judgment will not stand in the way of TNPCB issuing directions, including a direction for closure of the plant, for the production of environment in accordance with law.

In para no.45 of the judgment it is stated that “The NEERI reports of 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005 show that the plant of the appellant did pollute the environment through emissions which did not conform to the standards laid down by the TNPCB under the Air Act and through discharge of effluent which did not conform to the standards laid down by the TNPCB under the Water Act. … On account of some of these deficiencies, TNPCB also did not renew the consent to operate for some periods and yet the appellants continued to operate its plant without such renewal.

            … For such damages caused to the environment from 1997 to 2012 and for operating the plant without a valid renewal for a fairly long period, the appellant company obviously is liable to compensate by paying damages.”

Finally, a compensation of 100 crores rupees has been imposed against M/s.Vedanta Ltd.

In this judgement in para no.40 it is also reiterated that “If, however, after the environmental clearance is granted under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Rules and the notifications issued thereunder and after the consents granted under the Air Act and the Water Act, the industry continues to pollute the environment so as to affect the fundamental right to life under Article.21 of the Constitution …. As there were no other remedial measures to ensure that the industry maintains the standards of emission and effluent as laid down by law for safe environment. (As Supreme Court directed closure of tanneries polluting the waters of River Ganga in M.C.Mehta v. Union of India – 2010).

 Therefore M/s. Vedanta Ltd a habitual violator of all environmental norms polluting Water and Air and contaminating the soil, ground water and land in all aspects leading to serious health problems to the common public can not be permitted to refunction and the permanent closure is justifiable on all grounds.

Dated at Chennai on this the 28th Day of October 2018

State Co-Ordinator
Makkal Athikaram (People’s Power)
No.16, Mullai Nagar Commecial Complex
Ashok Nagar 2nd Avenue
Chennai – 600 083
Tamil Nadu.

சந்தா செலுத்துங்கள்

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