August 31, 2018
Chennai : Former Meghalaya High Court judge Justice Tarun Agrawal has been named as the head of the three-member panel to decide on the petition challenging the closure of its Sterlite Copper Smelting plant at Tuticorin.
Earlier, former Punjab and Haryana High Court chief justice, SJ Vazifdar was appointed to head the panel but he expressed inability to take up the appointment. He had cited personal reasons for not taking up the assignment.
The appointment was made by the National Green Tribunal on Friday. It also made it clear that if there is any non-compliance of the order, the company would be at liberty to take its remedies or to point out the same before the committee.
“Pending the finalisation of remuneration by the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, the Central Pollution Control Board will provide immediate logistic support and organise the visit of Justice Tarun Agrawal, Chairman of the committee, and other members to the site or to the venue of the hearing,” the bench said. The panel is likely to visit the site and evaluate technical data.
“The Committee can go into the material produced by the parties on the issue of environmental compliance as well as the impact on inhabitants as perceived or actual,” the NGT said. The NGT had on August 9 allowed Vedanta to enter the administrative unit inside its Sterlite copper plant. The plant would remain closed and the company would not have access to its production unit and directed the district magistrate to ensure this.
At least 13 people were killed and several injured on May 22 when the police had opened fire on a huge crowd of people protesting against environment pollution caused by the company.