The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today (9 August) allowed partial access to the administrative units of Vendanta’s Sterlite plant in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, reports PTI. However, the tribunal has said that the production units would still be off-limits and has told the district magistrate to enforce it. It asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to submit data on pollution around the Sterlite plant before posting the matter for hearing on 20 August. Rejecting Tamil Nadu’s claims that it did not have the jurisdiction to do so, the NGT said it would hear Vedanta’s plea based on merit.
Vedanta’s copper smelting unit was closed in late May 2018 by the Tamil Nadu government amid allegations of environmental pollution that was preceded by months of protests.
A day later, the state government canceled the land allotment for an extension of the plant. The immediate results of the plant’s closure were felt when the pumpset manufacturing industry in Coimbatore – where Copper forms 70 per cent of the raw material – said that manufacturing and procurement costs would go up.
In July, villagers claimed that they were misled by left-wing outfits in the protests and demanded that the plant be reopened, following which Sterlite officials began a campaign to tackle misinformation. The Sterlite copper plant in Tutiorin accounted for 50 per cent of India’s copper output.
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