The Tuticorin Sterlite Plant which was shut by the Tamil Nadu government over the alleged pollution after the killing of 13 people in police firing, is likely to be reopened as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday set aside the state government’s order. In May this year, the Tamil Nadu government had ordered to close the Vedanta’s copper smelter plant in Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) permanently after the killing of at least 13 people who were demanding the closure of the plant over alleged pollution.
Setting aside the shutdown order by Tamil Nadu court, the NGT directed the administration to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent within three weeks. The green court also ordered the company to spend Rs 100 crore over the next three years on the welfare of inhabitants of the area.
However, the Tamil Nadu government expressed their reservations about the green court's decision and said that it will move the Supreme Court against the NGT order. Tamil Nadu cabinet minister for environment and pollution control, KC Karuppanan, said, “CM Edappaadi K Palaniswami is firm on the closure of Sterlite."
On May 28, the Tamil Nadu government had issued a Government Order (GO) and directed the state Pollution Control Board to seal Vedanta group’s Sterlite Copper plant permanently. The government had cited Constitution’s directive principles of state policy (Article 48-A) enjoining protection of environment and provisions of the Water Act, 1974, to order the permanent closure of the copper factory "in the larger public interest".
The NGT order came after a committee appointed by the tribunal informed it that Vedanta was not given any notice or opportunity to explain before the closure of the plant. The Vedanta had offered to invest an additional sum of Rs 100 for the welfare of people, including construction of schools, hospitals and supply of drinking water.