The three-member committee formed by the National Green Tribunal to survey the Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi held a public hearing in Chennai today during which many people from the southern town asked for the reopening of the factory, contradictory to the public sentiment some months ago.
The team, led by retired judge Justice Tarun Agarwal, heard public opinion on the shutting down of Sterlite plant, from stakeholders and others in Chennai. It is said 45,000 affidavits were filed in favour of the re-opening of the Sterlite plant.
The NGT appointed committee conducted inspections in and around the plant on Sunday and met the general public for their inputs on the effects of the Sterlite plant.
After their visit, they also chaired a public consultation meeting, in which they received letters from general public about the future of the plant. Though the session was marked by minor altercations and scuffles, police intervention prevented it from becoming anything major.
Speaking to the media, Tarun Agarwal said that a majority of the representations received by the team were in favour of the plant remaining shut. He further said that the team will study the representations and then take a call about the plant.
Earlier on Sunday, the three-member panel set up by NGT inspected the Sterlite Copper unit, which was closed by the Tamil Nadu government on 28 May on environment grounds in the wake of protests by locals.
The team was constituted by the National Green Tribunal to check on the public complaints against the Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi regarding water and air pollution.