New Delhi–The Vedanta Group on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that if the high level of water pollution was the ground for shutting down its Thoothukudi Copper smelting plant, then by that measure other industries too should face closure.

Recalling the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) argument that 500 TDS is a desirable level of water pollution and 2,000 TDS a permissible level, Vedanta told the bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha that other industries should also face closure as groundwater pollution in the entire state is very high.

Pointing to the perplexing action of the Tamil Nadu government, senior counsel C.A. Sundaram appearing for Vedanta said that the company also knocked the doors of the high court seeking quashing of the report that brought out that the groundwater pollution is high in the entire state.

Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper smelting plant was shut down “permanently” on May 28, 2018, by the TNPCB for causing a near-irreversible level of groundwater pollution.

Sundaram also cited figures showing that the level of groundwater pollution is high not only in Thoothukudi but in other districts as well and mentioned the instance of Dharmapuri district of the state.

“The high level of groundwater pollution in not limited to the place in and around the plant now under closure but across the district,” the senior counsel said.

Vedanta said this to the court in the course of hearing of a plea by the Tamil Nadu government and the TNPCB, challenging December 15, 2018 National Green Tribunal’s order.

The green tribunal by the December 15 order had asked TNPCB to give its consent to Vedanta to run the plant though subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions.

Sundram told the court that in two consent orders in the past by the TNPCB, none of the objections that are being flagged now were raised.

Sundram will continue his arguments on Wednesday. (IANS)

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