Vedanta on Friday commenced the winding off operations at the Sterlite Copper oxygen plant as the Tamil Nadu Government refused to extend permission for generation of oxygen. The copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi was shut down and sealed 3 years ago following protests by locals who accused the plant of causing pollution. As many as 13 persons were killed in police firing and scores hurt.
During the onset of the second wave when there was a crisis of medical oxygen, the Supreme Court had allowed Sterlite to operate its oxygen plant under monitored circumstances for 3 months. The permission period will end on Saturday. With oxygen supply now no longer an issue, the plant would have to wind up. “The oxygen plant will commence winding off operations today [Friday] to allow enough time for the defrosting process before the date indicated by the SC. Our application for extension of the facility for 6 months, is listed to be heard by the SC on August 6, 2021,” the company said in a statement. Sterlite said it had supplied 2,132 MT and 7833nm³ of high purity, medical-grade oxygen to 32 districts in Tamil Nadu.
“We have a stock of 134 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen within our plant premises, and are optimistic of further orders from the Supreme Court on resuming production. We have also requested the State government to allow us 2MW of power supply, which will be used to keep the oxygen plant in standby condition and will also be essential in dispatching the stock of oxygen remaining at our plant,” the company said.
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