Supreme Court sets aside NGT decision to reopen copper plant
Sterlite Industries will not be able to reopen its controversial copper plant in Thoothukudi, at least for now. The Supreme Court of India (SC) on February 18, 2019 set aside the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) directive to let the plant open after the Tamil Nadu government had ordered it to be shut down.
Residents in the district have long protested against copper smelting there by Sterlite, a subsidiary of Vedanta Ltd. Bitter protests last year culminated into the police opening fire on May 22, 2018, killing and injuring several demonstrators, for which the Edappadi Palaniswami government drew widespread criticism.
Eventually, his regime passed a government order to permanently shut down the 400,000-tinne per annum plant on 28 May. The NGT, however, heeded the company’s appeal and on December 15 asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to renew consent to the plant and let Vedanta handle hazardous substance. Following this, the apex court on January 24 ordered the government of Tamil Nadu to immediately provide power supply to the plant.
Along with a blanket ban on Sterlite, environmental activists have been demanding Vedanta to clean up the mess that they have made in the last 23 years.
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