Sterlite challenges TNPCB order on plea seeking renewal of Consent To Operate for Thoothukudi copper smelter plant

The plea by Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi to renew the CTO beyond March 31 was rejected since the guidelines stipulated by the TNPCB were not met adequately.

Published: 18th April 2018 03:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2018 08:56 AM   |  A+A-

Thousands of people had gathered on the streets of Thoothukudi last month to protest against the Sterlite copper plant for allegedly causing pollution. (File photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A week after the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) rejected the application of Vedanta Sterlite to renew the Consent to Operate (CTO) for its existing smelter plant in Thoothukudi, the company has filed a petition before the TNPCB Appellate Authority challenging the pollution board’s order.

When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, Justice T Sudanthiram, chairman of the Appellate Authority, hearing the plea of Vedanta Sterlite, has directed the TNPCB to file a reply and posted the matter to May 4.

Interestingly, the three-year tenure of Justice Sudanthiram came to an end on March 27,2018, but the State government recently issued a notification extending the chairman’s term for a period of one year until February 18, 2019. The Authority entertains and disposes of the appeals preferred by the industries against the orders of the TNPCB issued under provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, as amended in 1988 and under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

A Sterlite Copper’s spokesperson confirmed to Express that an appeal had been filed before the Appellate Authority, but refused to divulge further details. The Consent to Operate granted by the pollution board expired on March 31, 2018. 

TNPCB chairman Nasimuddin had said that the plea by Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi to renew the CTO beyond March 31 was rejected since the guidelines stipulated by the TNPCB were not met adequately. The company was informed that its plea was rejected on April 9. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had also tweeted the decision taken by the pollution board.

The company itself on April 10 informed the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India Limited about the crisis situation. Bhumika Sood, secretary and compliance officer, Vedanta Limited, said: “The company had applied for renewal of the CTO for its existing smelter plant at Thoothukudi. The application has been rejected for want of more clarifications. The company is evaluating further course of action. As informed by the company on March 27, 2018, the scheduled maintenance activities were supposed to be for a period of approximately 15 days, but now it is likely to be extended, given the above development.”

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