Updated: April 27, 2021 1:40:09 pm
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.
Supreme Court allows allow Vedanta Ltd plea to operate the oxygen plant in Sterlite Copper, Tamil Nadu, as a standalone unit in view of the national need for oxygen. Says it will not create any equities in favour of Vedanta. @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) April 27, 2021
“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.
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(With inputs from PTI)
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