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Sterlite row: Tamil Nadu govt moves Supreme Court challenging NGT order to reopen Thoothukudi copper smelter

Less than a month after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered Vedanta's Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi to be reopened, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court challenging the green court's order.

The plant was in the centre of massive protests earlier this year, with local residents accusing the plant of polluting the region. The protests had led to the death of 13 people in police firing.

The Tamil Nadu government had sought permanent closure of the Sterlite plant in May 2018. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) had said the smelter, which was shut pending renewal of its operating license, was found to be preparing to resume production without permission.

 Sterlite row: Tamil Nadu govt moves Supreme Court challenging NGT order to reopen Thoothukudi copper smelter

Representational image. PTI

"The issue of renewal of consent for the year 2018-2023 has been rejected...due to non compliance of certain conditions," the TNPCB had stated in the order.

In December, the NGT had allowed Vedanta to appeal against the closure of its Sterlite copper smelter after it found that the orders of the Tamil Nadu government were disproportionate and "against the principles of natural justice".

In May 2018, the green court had ordered the permanent shutdown of the plant on the recommendations of the TNPCB under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, but its order to seal the premises was reconsidered in August, after a three-member team headed by former Meghalaya High Court chief justice Tarun Agrawal was formed. The committee had later informed the green panel that Vedanta was not given any notice or opportunity to present its case before the plant was ordered shut.

"The impugned orders cannot be sustained as it is against the principles of natural justice. No notice or opportunity of hearing was given to the appellant. The grounds mentioned in the impugned orders are not that grievous to justify permanent closure of the factory," the committee had told a bench headed by NGT chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

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Updated Date: Jan 02, 2019 12:31:13 IST