Thoothukudi: Sterlite copper here has formulated a plan to use only desalinated water for its requirement on recommencing its operations, according to its CEO Pankaj Kumar, who added that the company plans to set up a water plant to remineralise the desalinated water to be supplied to villagers around the company.
Though Sterlite copper, like many other industries in the Thoothukudi Sipcot complex had contracted with Sipcot for supply of water for industrial purposes, it reduced its use of Sipcot-supplied Thamirabarani water and shifted to desalinated water.
The company entered into a contract with a private desalinating water plant South Ganga Water Technologies Private Limited (SGWT) for the supply of desalinated water directly for use in its operations in the fiscal year 2013-2014. Since then the plant steadily increased its use of desalinated water, and according to Sterlite CEO Pankaj Kumar, around 70 per cent of Sterlite's water requirement was being met by the SGWT-supplied desalinated water at the time of the plant closure by the State on May 2018 after the people's protest.
“The company has now formulated plans to raise this to 100 per cent on recommencing our operations,” added the Sterlite CEO, who also said that the company plans to set up a water plant with a production capacity of one MLD (million litres per day) in its own land at Thoothukudi to remineralise the desalinated water so that it can be used to meet the drinking water requirement of the water starved villages around the plant.
As of now, Sterlite copper has been supplying drinking water to 1,000 families on alternative days in seven villages in its vicinity. The drinking water supply scheme launched on April this year at the request of villagers under its Muthucharam project ensures 36 litres of water per family, said Pankaj Kumar, who added that their aim was to extend the programme to reach out to 5,000 families in 20 hamlets close to the factory in Thoothukudi.
Sterlite also reached out to the fishing community through welfare programmes like distributing fishing nets and through its scholarship programme--Thamira Vidyalayam. Some activists still attempt to rekindle mass sentiment against the industry, said sources....