Chennai: Sterlite Copper of the Vedanta Group has moved the National Green Tribunal at New Delhi challenging the closure order from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) against its copper smelter unit at Thoothukudi.
According to a statement from the company released here on Tuesday, it has also sought the NGT's permission to allow it to carry out "care and maintenance of the plant and other interim reliefs" during the pendency of its appeal.
The Tamil Nadu Government had sealed Sterlite factory shortly before the dusk of May 28 in what many saw as a knee-jerk reaction to the 13 deaths in police firing (May 21-22) when the anti-Sterlite agitation by the locals turned violent, thanks to the 'inspiration' from some 'environmental' NGOs.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had then alleged that anti-socials had infiltrated in what had been a peaceful agitation by the locals demanding Sterlite closure.
Two lawyers belonging to an NGO, Makkal Adhikaram, have since been arrested for allegedly instigating the agitators to indulge in violence, which included brutally attacking the police personnel and torching the vehicles parked inside the Sterlite staff quarters. The state government had appointed a retired judge of the Madras high court, Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, to probe the Thoothukudi violence while many, particularly the DMK and PMK parties, have demanded a CBI probe.
Referring to the TNPCB decision not to renew the Consent to Operate to Sterlite, the government in its May 28 order had announced that “in the larger public interest” the copper smelter unit would be closed permanently, and sealed.
CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami had then said the “Amma government issued the order to have the Sterlite plant closed down permanently in deference to the sentiments of the people of Thoothukudi”. The sealing of the plant was a big TV event for the district collector and SP.