Vedanta Sterlite closure 'unjustifiable', may reopen as NGT cancels TN order

NGT directed Vedanta Limited to spend Rs 100 crore over a period of three years for 'welfare activities' in the area.

Chennai: The National Green Tribunal on Saturday set aside Tamil Nadu government’s order for permanent closure of Vedanta Limited’s Sterlite plant in Tuticorin.

Sterlite closure “unjustifiable”, the green court told the Tamil Nadu government on Saturday, directing Vedanta Limited to spend Rs 100 crore over a period of three years for “welfare activities” in the area.

The court directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to pass fresh order of renewal of consent for Vedanta’s copper smelter.

“The appellant (Vedanta) will also be entitled to restoration of electricity for its operations,” said the green court while stating that the plant has to comply with suggestions put forth by the NGT-appointed committee.

The directions came after Vedanta challenged AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government’s closure order issued in May this year.

The committee, headed by former Meghalaya High Court Chief Justice Tarun Agrawal, also said that no notice or opportunity of hearing was given to Vedanta before the closure of the plant.

The committee had said that the closure of the plant was “against the principles of natural justice.”

In May, the Tamil Nadu government had decided to shut down the Sterlite Copper plant, which accounts for a 40 per cent share in India’s annual copper production of 10 lakh tonnes, over alleged pollution.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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