After NGT's Yes, Madras HC Says Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi Can’t Reopen Just Yet
Earlier on December 15, the NGT set aside the Tamil Nadu government’s order to close Vedanta’s copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi permanently and directed the administration to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent within three weeks.
File Photo of Sterlite Industry in Tuticorin,Tamil Nadu. (Image: Reuters )
Chennai: The Sterlite Copper Plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi may not be reopened as the Madras High Court has ordered the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to maintain a status quo on Sterlite Copper till January 21, 2019.
The Madurai bench of the high court has also sent a notice to NGT and the Tamil Nadu Environment Department to reply by January 21.
Earlier on December 15, the NGT set aside the Tamil Nadu government’s order to close Vedanta’s copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi permanently and directed the administration to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent within three weeks. It also ordered the company to spend Rs 100 crore within a period of three years for the welfare of inhabitants in the area.
The petition against the NGT’s latest order was filed by Fatima, who has been at the forefront of protests against Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi.
In the petition, Fatima said: “The order suffers from blatant illegalities and the manner in which the entire proceedings were conducted before the Tribunal and the Committee appointed by the Tribunal, the manner of consideration of the applications, denial of hearing and access to records to the intervenors, the manner of publication of the final order dated 15.12.2018 and the leaking of the final order dated 15/12/2018 leaves no doubt that the entire proceedings have been vitiated by violations of principles of natural justice and bias and deserve to be quashed with immediate effect.”
The Tamil Nadu government had said it would approach the apex court to challenge the NGT order. The petitioner said that while the NGT order has asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to renew the license of Sterlite Copper, the state government has three months’ time to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
The NGT order came months after the state government ordered the smelter to be shut down over alleged pollution. Demonstrations calling for the plant’s closure became violent in May as 14 protesters were killed in police firing.
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