The state government had, on May 28, ordered the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to seal and "permanently" close the mining group's copper plant following violent protests by locals over pollution concerns.
NGT in December set aside the Tamil Nadu government order for closure of mining company Vedanta Ltd's sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin, which was at the centre of massive protests over alleged pollution, saying it was "non sustainable" and "unjustified".
A bench led by Justice R F Nariman said that ‘it is open to the state government to argue on maintainability after which the tribunal will give a finding on both maintainability and merit’. The matter is listed before NGT on August 20.
Blaming Makkal Adhikaram (People's Power) for the picketing of the district collectorate, Madathur villagers in Tuticorin district accused the outfit and its allied organisations of "changing their hearts".
The smelter accounted for over a third of India's refined copper output, and India is set to see a rise in copper imports following the shutdown. Sulphuric acid, a corrosive byproduct of smelting, is used by fertilizer and chemical companies as a raw material.
The Tamil Nadu government is all set to start the land acquisition for the Rs 10,000 crore highway, a pet project of both the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.