SC refuses to stay NGT order on Sterlite plant

Will continue legal battle, says CM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the decision of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to process the reopening of the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi, which was ordered to be closed down due to environmental pollution.

The Supreme Court Bench also stayed an order passed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that the status quo “as on today” should be maintained till January 21 in respect of reopening of the plant. Vedanta, which runs the plant, had moved the top court against the Madurai Bench’s decision.

‘Renewal of consent’

The Supreme Court said the process of reopening the plant as per the National Green Tribunal’s order can continue. This would mean that Sterlite’s ‘renewal of consent to operate’ application, pending with the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board, should be decided by the latter authority within three weeks as per the tribunal’s verdict.

Issues notice

However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami told the Assembly that the government would continue its legal battle to permanently shut down the copper smelter.
The apex court issued notice on the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal contending that the tribunal failed to consider the entire gamut of data, documents and evidence before directing the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to pass fresh orders of renewal of consent and issue authorisation to Vedanta Limited to handle hazardous substances.

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