NGT orders reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant, Tamil Nadu govt to move Supreme Court
Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin could reopen soon as a green court on Saturday set aside the state government’s order to close it permanently.
The national green tribunal (NGT) directed the Tamil Nadu pollution control board to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent for the copper smelter within three weeks.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami said his government will challenge the NGT verdict in Supreme Court.
“Our stand is clear: we do not want this smelter to reopen,” state environment minister KC Karuppannan said in a televised news conference after the court order, adding to the CM’s remarks.
The NGT also directed the company to spend Rs 1 billion ($13.91 million) within a period of three years for the welfare of inhabitants in the area.
The order came months after Tamil Nadu ordered the shut down over alleged pollution. At least 13 people were killed and several injured when police fired a group of protesters demanding its shut down.
The Sterlite copper plant saw major protests in Tamil Nadu against the pollution to the water caused by the plant with presence of heavy metals found in the underground water.
Earlier, an NGT-appointed committee informed the green panel that no notice or opportunity was given to Vedanta before the closure.
The company had earlier offered before the tribunal that it would invest Rs 100 crore in Tuticorin for the welfare of people, including construction of schools, hospitals and supply of drinking water.
It had said this amount would be in addition to the Rs 10 crore spent by the company annually in social work under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The panel also said that in case the factory should commence production, it should be directed to monitor groundwater quality in the presence of an official.
(With agency inputs)
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