NGT refuses to lift ban on Sterlite, seeks reply from TN govt

NGT refuses to lift ban on Sterlite, seeks reply from TN govt

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday sought response from the Tamilnadu government and the State Pollution Control Board on a plea moved by Vedanta Ltd challenging the State government’s order to permanently close the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi.

A bench headed by Acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the State government and the pollution board while seeking their responses before 18 July. The judge also refused to give permission to reopen the industry immediately.

The green body also allowed the state government to file a statement, questioning the maintainability of Vedanta’s plea.

The NGT order came after the plea filed by Vedanta sought permission to run its unit and also a direction to declare as unlawful and illegal the powers by the state government in passing the order dated May 28 purporting to exercise powers under section 18(1)(b) of the Water Act.

Meanwhile, in a fresh development in the investigations into the Thoothukudi police shootings which resulted in the death of 13 civilians during the anti-Sterlite agitations in the district, the Terms of Reference of the probe panel has been expanded.

The Commission of Inquiry, led by retired Madras High Court Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, will now be expanded to include the events following the protest and police shootings on May 22.

The smelter plant was closed down following protests from the residents. Violence broke out on the 100th day of the protest during which 13 people lost their lives. It may be noted that fishermen from Therespuram in Thoothukudi recently said the violence on the last day of anti-sterlite protest was instigated by two advocate who are members of Makkal Adhikaram outfit.