NGT clears way for reopening Thoothukudi Sterlite plant, Tamil Nadu govt to appeal

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 15, 2018, 04.14 PM(IST)

FILE PHOTO: Police stand guard outside a copper smelter controlled by London-listed Vedanta Resources in Thoothukudi in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India, Photograph:( Reuters )

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The green court`s decision came months after the smelter was ordered shut by Tamil Nadu over alleged pollution that led to violent protests in May

The National Green Tribunal has set aside Tamil Nadu government's closure order of Vedanta`s copper smelter plant permanently saying it was non-sustainable and unjustified.

The green court`s decision came months after the smelter was ordered shut by Tamil Nadu over alleged pollution that led to violent protests in May, which culminated in police opening fire on demonstrators and killing 13.

However, the smelter plant is unlikely to resume production anytime soon as the Tamil Nadu state government is expected to appeal against the verdict to the country`s top court, reported Reuters.

"Our stand is clear: we do not want this smelter to reopen," Tamil Nadu`s environment minister, K.C. Karuppannan, said in a televised news conference after the court order. 

The court directed the Tamil Nadu state pollution regulator to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent for Vedanta`s copper smelter within 3 weeks. It also directed the company to spend 1 billion rupees ($13.91 million) within a period of three years for the welfare of inhabitants in the area, according to the report.

"We allow this appeal, set aside the impugned orders and direct the TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances ... within three weeks from today," the National Green Tribunal said in the order.