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Tamil Nadu moves top court against NGT order to open Sterlite plant

The NGT had on December 15 set aside the state government's order to shut the smelter after police firing on May 22 and killed 13 people who were in a crowd protesting against the unit's expansion.

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

Tuticorin
Policemen clash with protestors demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tuticorin in May 2018. | Photo: PTI

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order allowing Vedanta Group to open its Sterlite copper smelter in Tuticorin, saying the tribunal has no jurisdiction in the matter.

The NGT had on December 15 set aside the state government’s order to shut the smelter after police firing on May 22 and killed 13 people who were in a crowd protesting against the unit’s expansion.

The NGT called the government's decision "non-sustainable and unjustifiable" and asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to restore electricity supply to the plant and provide Vedanta immediate access.

The TNPCB and state government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court the NGT didn’t have the jurisdiction to allow Vedanta access to the plant. Responding to Sterlite's request for renewal of consent, TNPCB responded by saying the state government and the pollution control board have filed an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the NGT's order.

The plant has been closed since March 27, initially for maintenance and later due to the state pollution control board's refusal to give its consent to operate.

The plant caters to 35-40 per cent of copper demand in India and it generates tax revenue worth Rs 2000 crore for central and state governments. Vedanta has said it has been losing Rs 5 crore every day due to the closure.

First Published: Wed, January 02 2019. 17:21 IST
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