The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday decided to approach the Supreme Court challenging the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s order allowing operations to continue at Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi. The tribunal board had dismissed the state government’s order to close the plant earlier in the day.
“Minister for Environment and Pollution Control KC Karuppanan said that Chief Minister Edappaadi K Palaniswami is firm on the closure of the plant; the state government will challenge the NGT final order before the apex court,” the AIADMK said on its official Twitter handle.
Honourable Minister for Environment and Pollution Control KC Karuppanan : Honourable CM Thiru Edappaadi K Palaniswami is firm on the closure of Sterlite; TN Govt will challenge the NGT final order before the Supreme Court.
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 15, 2018
In May, the state government had decided to shut down the plant, which accounts for a 40 per cent share in India’s annual copper production of 10 lakh tonnes, over alleged pollution. Protests calling for Sterlite’s closure had turned violent with at least 13 people losing their lives in police firing.
Despite noting various lapses and lack of clearances, the green tribunal today allowed the plant to resume operations. It also directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to issue a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances.
The NGT also blamed TNPCB for “sitting on clearances” and noted that copper slag is not found to be hazardous. It also noted that the TNPCB did not make effort to ask Sterlite to make physical barriers to block leakage.
Further, Vedanta has been directed to deposit 2.5 crores as a token amount for their failures. The court also directed the company to spend Rs 100 crore within a period of three years for the welfare of inhabitants in the area. It also allowed the restoration of electricity in the plant.