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Thursday, May 13, 2021

‘National need’: SC allows Vedanta to run Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu for oxygen production

The copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi was shut down in 2018 by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board over environmental violations.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 27, 2021 1:40:09 pm
The Tamil Nadu government, on Monday, had also decided to reopen the Sterlite copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi for a period of four months to produce medical oxygen. (File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Vedanta to operate its closed oxygen plant at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, saying the order has been passed in view of “national need” for oxygen.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat said Vedanta, however, shall not be allowed to enter and operate its copper smelting plant under the garb of this order.

The top court said there should be no political bickering over the generation of oxygen by Vedanta as the country is facing a national crisis. It said the order allowing Vedanta to operate its oxygen plant would not create any equity in its favour.

The apex court also asked Tamil Nadu to form a panel, including the district collector and th Tuticorin superintendent of police, to monitor activities at Vedanta’s oxygen plant.

This comes a day after the Tamil Nadu government had decided to reopen the Sterlite copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi for a period of four months to produce medical oxygen.

“The copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi would be allowed to reopen for a period of four months only to manufacture oxygen. Under no circumstance will Vedanta be allowed to open or operate other plants that would be used for copper production. Based on the requirement of oxygen, the period might be extended. The electricity supply to the oxygen plants would be cut by the government after the specified period,” Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had said.

The copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi was shut down in 2018 by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board over environmental violations. On May 22, 2018, at least 13 people were killed and several others were injured when the state police fired at people who had taken out a demonstration against the construction of a new smelter plant by Vedanta.

(With inputs from PTI)

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