The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday permitted the Tamil Nadu government to file a statement questioning the maintainability of Vedanta’s plea, which has challenged the state government’s order to permanently close its Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin. The green panel did not entertain Vedanta’s request to reopen its copper smelting plant for maintenance work.
A bench headed by acting NGT chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the state government and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) while seeking their responses before July 18. “Vedanta has approached NGT against all orders passed regarding the closure of the factory,” the counsel for Vedanta told reporters outside the NGT. “NGT issued notices to TNPCB and the TN government. Everything has been brought before the NGT,” he said.
Before the NGT bench, Vedanta claimed that the Tamil Nadu government will be responsible for an environmental disaster if the company is denied access to its unit. A Sterlite Copper official told The Indian Express that the plant needs to be maintained and properly shut down which will take at least ten days.
In its appeal, Vedanta had asked the NGT to set aside four orders of the TNPCB and the Tamil Nadu government order dated May 28 this year. It also asked the NGT to “restrain” Tamil Nadu government “by an order of permanent injunction from in any manner preventing or interfering with the functioning and operations of the Appellant’s unit”.