NGT orders reopening of Vedanta Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu to move SC
Chennai, Dec 15: The National Green court on Saturday set aside the Tamil Nadu state government's order to close Vedanta's copper smelter plant permanently and directed the state pollution regulator to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent for Vedanta's copper smelter within three weeks. According to the court, closure of the Sterlite plant was "unjustifiable".
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisamy has said that his government will challenge the National Green Tribunal verdict on Sterlite issue in Supreme Court.
It also directed the company to spend Rs. 100 crore within a period of three years for the welfare of people in the area. In its submission before the tribunal, Vedanta had offered to invest Rs 100 crore for the welfare of the people apart from the regular CSR activities carried out by the firm.
"We allow this appeal, set aside the impugned orders and direct the TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances ... within three weeks from today," the National Green Tribunal said in the order.
The NGT order came months after the Tamil Nadu government ordered the state's pollution control board to seal and "permanently" close the mining group's copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.
At least thirteen people had died during the police firing on May 22 and 23 after protests, demanding closure of the Vedanta group's Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin over pollution concerns, turned violent.