Will Challenge NGT’s Decision of Reopening Sterlite Plant: EPS

The NGT cancelled Tamil Nadu government’s decision of closing Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant.

3 min read
File image of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

The National Green Tribunal on Saturday, 15 December, cancelled Tamil Nadu’s decision of closing Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said the government will challenge the decision in the the Supreme Court.

“We will challenge the National Green Tribunal verdict on Sterlite issue in Supreme Court.”
Edappadi K Palaniswami, Chief Minister, TN to ANI 

According to the NGT’s order, the Pollution Control Boards cannot close the such establishments on hyper technicalities if the establishment is complying with pollution control norms and is willing to take precautionary steps. It also asked Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to issue a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances.

The body did not find the copper plant hazardous and also said that the TNPCB never asked Sterlite to make physical barriers to tackle the leakage.

‘Will Take All Required Steps,’ Sterlite CEO Welcomes Order

P Ramnath, CEO, Sterlite Copper, said that they welcome the NGT’s decision and they will study the order in detail to take all the steps as per the guidelines. “We thank the people of Thoothukudi for the faith reposed in us and for their support,” Ramnath said.

“We are happy that all those affected by the closure will get back their source of livelihood and the town of Thoothukudi will revert  to normalcy. We will study the order in detail and shall take all steps required to restart the operations as per guidelines given by the honourable court.”
P Ramnath, CEO, Sterlite Copper

Reopening of the Plant Brings Employment for Many: Tuticorin Stevedores’ Association

Tuticorin Stevedores’ Association in its statement said that reopening of the Sterlite copper plant means employment for many workers who had lost their jobs during its closure.

“We are eager to see Sterlite resume operations as this would mean employment for many of the workers who have lost jobs due to the closure of the company and resultant slowdown of many member’s business. The Tuticorin port has seen a huge loss in dry bulk volume and subsequently revenue and many port associated business laborers have lost jobs,” the statement read.

Will Challenge NGT’s Decision of Reopening Sterlite Plant: EPS
However, many people in Tuticorin are angry with the order as they allege the plant has polluted the air and groundwater, causing cancer.

Set Up a Website for Grievances: NGT to Vedanta

In its order, NGT said that the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be responsible for providing preventive measures for environmental pollution by the industries and without adopting those remedial measures, refusing the consent is illegal and not sustainable in law.

It has directed Vedanta to set up a dedicated and interactive website where the affected stakeholders can lodge their environmental related grievance for the time bound redressal and disposal by unit.

The Tamil Nadu government in May this year had decided to shut down Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant after heavy protests.

(With inputs from ANI)

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