Sterlite allowed to reopen Thoothukudi plant
-The Hindu Business Line
The Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for Vedanta to reopen the Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, refusing to stay the December 15 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
A Bench headed by Justice RF Nariman today heard two cases on the issue. The first was on the stay given by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on the NGT order to reopen the plant, and the second was on the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s (TNPCB) appeal against the NGT order. The Supreme Court said that the impugned order of December 21 passed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court shall remain stayed. The directions that have been passed by the NGT will continue to subsist and will be subject to the ultimate outcome of the appeal.
Consent to operate
P Ramnath, CEO of Sterlite Copper, said that under the NGT order, the TNPCB needed to renew consent for the company to operate the plant within three weeks of the order date. It is past three weeks now. Following the apex court order, Sterlite will approach the TNPCB to renew the consent to operate the plant, he added.
On May 28, the Tamil Nadu government had ordered the TNPCB to seal and permanently close the plant following the death of at least 13 people and injury to several others in a police firing during anti-Sterlite protests a week earlier. Sterlite appealed against the order with the NGT.
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