The National Green Tribunal has set aside the Tamil Nadu Government’s order closing down the Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper factory in Thoothukudi, Economic Times has reported.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, termed the decision of AIADMK government to shutdown the Sterlite plant as “unjustifiable” and “against the principles of natural justice.”
The bench also directed Vedanta to utilise Rs 100 crore over the next three years, for “welfare of the inhabitants” of Thoothukudi.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has been directed to pass fresh order of renewal of consent for the copper plant, a key licence requirement that will enable Vedanta to reopen the plant.
The Tribunal has also ordered for immediate restoration of power supply to the factory, subject to certain conditions. On 23 May, TNPCB suspended power supply to the plant claiming that production-related activity inside the factory did not have the required licence to run the unit.
The tribunal also ordered Vedanta to deposit an amount of Rs 2.5 crore for its faulty handling of 3.5 lakh tonnes of copper slag near the factory. It has also been directed to form a digital portal—a widely publicised one— for registry of complaints against its operations.
NGT also ordered setting up of a monitoring committee comprising of members from the Central Pollution Control Board, TNPCB and district administration to regularly monitor the “safe handling of effluents and emissions including solid waste.”
Vedanta had approached the NGT challenging the decision of Tamil Nadu government to close the copper plan via an order it issued in May this year.
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