National Green Tribunal not to allow Sterlite to reopen

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 05, 2018 02:19 PM IST

Chennai: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today sought response from the Tamilnadu government and the State Pollution Control Board on a plea moved by Vedanta Ltd challenging the State government's order to permanently close the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi.

A bench, headed by acting chairperson, Justice Jawad Rahim, issued notices to the State government and the pollution board while seeking their responses before 18 July.

The judge also refused to give permission to reopen the industry immediately.

The green panel permitted the State government to file a statement questioning the maintainability of Vedanta's plea.

The Tamilnadu government had ordered the pollution control board to seal and permanently close the group's copper plant in Thoothukudi following protests over pollution concerns.

In April, the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board rejected Sterlite's plea to renew the consent to operate, saying the company did not comply with the stipulated conditions, following which the government issued a permanent closure order 28 May.

The plea made by the company has sought permission to operate the unit and also a direction to declare as unlawful and illegal the exercise of powers by the Tamilnadu government in passing the order dated 28 May purporting to exercise powers under section 18(1)(b) of the Water Act.

The smelter plant was closed down following protests from the residents. Violence broke out on the 100th day of the protest during which 13 people lost their lives in police firing.

It may be noted that fishermen from Therespuram in Thoothukudi recently said the violence on the last day of the anti-Sterlite protest was instigated by two advocates who are members of Makkal Adhikaram outfit.