NGT to hear Vedanta's plea challenging shutting down of Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin tomorrow

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea by mining major Vedanta, which has challenged the Tamil Nadu government's order to permanently shut down its Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin.

The matter will come up before a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.

On 5 July, the tribunal had issued notices to the state government and the pollution board seeking their responses after Tamil Nadu raised preliminary objection with regard to the maintainability of Vedanta's plea.

The Sterlite copper smelter plant in Tuticorin. Reuters

The Sterlite copper smelter plant in Tuticorin. Reuters

The Tamil Nadu government had on 28 May ordered the state pollution control board to seal and 'permanently' close the mining group's copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.

Earlier in April, the Tamil Nadu pollution control board had rejected Sterlite's plea to renew the Consent To Operate certification, saying the company had not complied with the stipulated conditions. Following this, the government had issued a permanent closure notice to the plant.

Vedanta's plea in the NGT seeks permission to operate the unit and a direction to declare as unlawful and illegal the exercise of powers by the Tamil Nadu government in passing the closure order under section 18(1)(b) of the Water Act.

Sterlite's factory had made headlines in March 2013 when a gas leak led to the death of one person and several others were injured, after which then chief minister J Jayalalithaa had ordered its closure.

The company had then appealed to the NGT, which had overturned the government order. The state had then moved the Supreme Court against it and the case is still pending.

Following the latest protests and police firing, the plant was closed on 27 March. The Supreme Court has also ordered the company to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

After Sterlite announced its plans to expand the Tuticorin plant, villagers around it started fresh protests that continued for over 100 days, culminating in the 22 May police firing on protesters that claimed 13 lives and left scores injured.


Updated Date: Jul 29, 2018 21:59 PM

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