Why Sterlite was fined 100 crores?
Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed from the earlier NEERI reports (1998, 2005) that there were certain deviations in some parameters but also observes that it does not warrant a conclusion that the plant of the appellant will not be able to take remedial steps to improve the environment. Subsequently, the company undertook remedial measures as per TNPCB recommendation to eliminate the possibility of any such deviations, and since then all the parameters have been regularly monitored by authorities and found to be within prescribed norms.
In addition to the above, in some years between 1999 – 2005 and 2008-2013, the plant operated under a deemed consent. As per Water Act 1972, if the consent is not renewed by any Pollution Control Board after the application, it will be a deemed consent. In these years, the Consent to Operate was not renewed by TNPCB though we had applied and paid fees for renewal on time. During this non-renewal period all inspections, air and water sampling were conducted regularly by th
e TNPCB and found within prescribed limits. Though the consent was renewed later, Hon’ble Supreme court cited this non-renewal period as a concern and hence asked us to deposit INR 100 crores to the District Collector to carry out remedial action in case of any environmental damage. So far this fund has not been used for any pollution abatement measures, which clearly indicates that there is no such concerns as feared and the interest amount has only been utilized for community welfare measures.
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