In a major setback to people’s movements and also Tamil Nadu state government, the National Green Tribunal today issued an order facilitating the reopening of Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin. It may be recalled that the Tamil Nadu government had issued orders to close the plant, following massive protests alleging severe environmental concerns and damages to pollution.
As these protests turned violent, at least 13 people were killed and many others were injured in police firing, that created nation-wide commotion, in May this year.
The NGT directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to pass fresh order of renewal of consent for the Sterlite plant saying that the closure order of the plant was “unjustifiable”. The green court also directed Vedanta Ltd, the parent company of the Sterlite, to spend Rs. 100 crore over 3 years for “welfare activities” in the region.
The state government had, on May 28, ordered the state pollution control board to seal and “permanently” close the mining group’s copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.
The NGT had on Monday reserved its order on the plea by Vedanta Ltd challenging closure of its Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel said the order would be uploaded on the tribunal’s website next week.
The company had earlier offered before the tribunal that it would invest Rs 100 crore in Tuticorin for the welfare of people, including construction of schools, hospitals and supply of drinking water.