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Supreme Court clears way for Vedanta to reopen copper smelter

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Varadhan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The on Tuesday cleared the way for to reopen its south Indian copper smelter by refusing to stay an order from the country's environmental court.

The government of state ordered the smelter shut permanently in May after protests against alleged pollution at the plant in the city of during which the police killed 13 demonstrators.

Twelve of the 13 protesters were hit by bullets in the head or chest, and half of those were shot from behind, reported last month.

In December, (NGT) revoked the state decision to shut the plant, leading to appeal the NGT ruling.

The refused to issue a so-called stay halting the NGT's decision, but admitted the state's appeal before the high court, allowing that case to proceed.

"The directions that have been passed by the by its judgment ... will continue to subsist and will be subject to the ultimate outcome of the appeal," the said in its order uploaded on its website.

"As it stands today, the order of the NGT stays and has to be complied with by both the parties," Vedanta's said.

will now file an application with the Tamil Nadu pollution regulator seeking consent to operate the smelter, said P. Ramnath, the of Vedanta's Indian copper business Sterlite Copper which operates the plant.

"It is difficult to say when we will be able to reopen the smelter," Ramnath said.

Additionally, the Supreme Court issued a stay halting an order by the that barred from reopening the smelter until the Madras court hears a case challenging the NGT's verdict, said Sundaram.

(Reporting by Varadhan; Editing by and Mark Potter)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 19:24 IST