CHENNAI : The principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday refused to grant interim relief to Vedanta in a plea challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s order to shut down the Sterlite copper smelter unit in Thoothukudi. Though senior counsel C Aryama Sundaram, who represented Vedanta, vehemently argued that Sterlite be allowed to maintain the smelter unit in view of safety issues, the National Green Tribunal bench has not given the permission.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has not filed its reply and sought 10 more days time.
Considering all the factors, the tribunal has posted the matter for final hearing on August 9. In its application, Vedanta requested the tribunal to direct the TNPCB to restore and provide minimum power and water supply and manpower access for safeguarding the emergency systems of the plant as it houses sulphuric acid, various chemicals, resins and fuels, which pose a threat to the surroundings and the plant.
However, the Tamil Nadu’s counsel told the tribunal that all sulphuric acid and other chemicals had been safely transported out of the unit. The copper smelter, which has a capacity of four lakh tonnes a year and accounts for over a third of the India’s consumption of refined copper, has been shut since March 27.