CHENNAI: Vedanta on Tuesday moved the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Delhi challenging the Tamil Nadu government order to permanently close the Sterlite copper smelter unit in Thoothukudi. Calling the closure order and the refusal of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to renew the Consent to Operate (CTO) ‘impugned’ and ‘unlawful’, the parental organisation Vedanta has sought the NGT bench to grant ex-parte interim stay and allow Sterlite to operate the unit pending appeal.
The company also requested the tribunal to direct the TNPCB to restore and provide minimum power supply, water and manpower access for safeguarding the emergency systems of the plant as it houses various chemicals, resins and fuels, which pose a threat to the surroundings and the plant. Speaking to Express, Rakesh Sharma, standing counsel for the Tamil Nadu government in the NGT, said the case was expected to come up for hearing in a day or two. In the prayer, Vedanta has also asked the tribunal to restrain the government order by issuing permanent injunction.
Meanwhile, Vedanta has also issued an official statement saying, “Sterlite Copper has filed an appeal before the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, challenging the orders passed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board directing closure of its copper smelter unit at Thoothukudi, in the State. The company has also sought the NGT’s permission to allow it to carry out care and maintenance of the plant and other interim reliefs, during the pendency of appeal.”
In April, the TNPCB rejected Sterlite’s plea to renew the CTO, saying the company didn’t comply with the stipulated conditions, following which the government issued a permanent closure order on May 28.
In between, protests were staged in Thoothukudi on May 22 and 23 during which 13 people were killed in police firing.