December 15, 2018
The National Green Tribunal on Saturday ordered the reopening of the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Tuticorin that was closed by an order of the Tamil Nadu government.
Although the Tribunal noted the lapses in the working of the plant, it directed that the plant be allowed to continue operation and told the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to issue a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances.
What the NGT did was to blame the pollution board of TN for sitting on clearances to the plant and declared that copper slag was not hazardous.
The company that owns the plant, Vedanta, has been directed to deposit a sum of Rs 2.5 crore as token fine for its failure. It also asked the company spend Rs 100 crore over the next three years for the welfare of the residents in the area.
The NGT ordered restoration of electricity to the plant. The plant was shut down by a government order in May after police firing on protesters killed 13 of them.