CHENNAI : The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has appointed Tarun Agrawal, former Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court and former judge of the Allahabad HC, as chairman of the three-member independent committee that will decide the fate of Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi.
Agrawal’s appointment was necessitated after SJ Vazifdar, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana HC, expressed his inability to accept the appointment on personnel grounds. The green bench, in its latest order, confirmed the appointment and asked the parties concerned to send relevant paper to the committee. “Pending the finalisation of remuneration by the Chief Secretary (TN), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will provide immediate logistic support and organise the visit of Justice Agrawal, chairman of the panel, and other members to the site or to the venue of hearing,” the order read.
A copy of the order has already been sent to Tarun Agrawal by email and copies to the CPCB, the Union Environment Ministry, the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, TNPCB, and Thoothukudi Collector.
Further, the tribunal said all other terms of order passed on August 20 would remain. When the Sterlite counsel handed over a copy of the letter, dated August 29, addressed to Thoothukudi Collector for access to the administrative sections of the unit in accordance with the order, dated August 20, the tribunal noted, “Since we (NGT) have passed an order in this regard, no further order is necessary. If there is noncompliance, applicant is at liberty to take remedies or point out the same before the committee,” the order said.
Sources told Express that the committee is likely to visit Chennai next week and commence proceedings. As per tribunal’s directives, the committee should finish the job in six weeks and submit the final report.
The committee will be conducting its sitting in the complex of the NGT Southern bench in Kalas Mahal in Chennai or any other place as decided by the chairman of the committee.Meanwhile, the appeal, filed by TN in the Supreme Court challenging NGT order to constitute independent committee to decide Sterlite case, will come up for hearing next week.