The National Green Tribunal on Thursday will hear a plea moved by metals and mining giant Vedanta Ltd challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s order to permanently close the Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin. The Tamil Nadu government had ordered the state Pollution Control Board to seal and “permanently” close the group’s copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.
In April, the Tamil Nadu pollution control board rejected Sterlite’s plea to renew the Consent To Operate, saying the company did not comply with the stipulated conditions, following which the government issued a permanent closure order on May 28. The matter is likely to be heard by a bench of acting Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim.
The plea has sought permission to operate the unit and also a direction to declare as unlawful and illegal the exercise of powers by the Tamil Nadu government in passing the order dated May 28 purporting to exercise powers under section 18(1)(b) of the Water Act. “Direct the state pollution control board to consider the application for renewal of consent afresh and pass appropriate orders granting the same within a period of one month, for a period of five years, from the date of such consent” the plea said.
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Seeking interim relief to begin operations, the plea read, “Permit the appellant to operate the unit and plant pending the consideration of the instant appeal and direct the TN pollution control board to restore and provide minimum power supply, water and manpower access for safeguarding the emergency systems of the plant as it houses various chemical and fuels.
“Due to the sudden closure of the plant, the same poses a threat to the surroundings, the plant and the machinery within the plant,” it said.