Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that the government's stand was clear, and the Sterlite plant was not going to be opened.

Dont worry or protest says Thoothukudi Collector after NGT verdict on SterliteFile image
news Sterlite Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 11:34

Days after the Madras High Court ordered status quo on the National Green Tribunal’s verdict allowing the Sterlite copper smelter in Thoothukudi district to re-open, citizens have made representations to the district administration against the move.

Women and children visited the Thoothukudi Collectorate and handed over petitions stating that the Tamil Nadu government must not allow the Sterlite plant to be re-opened. Speaking to media persons after receiving petitions, Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri said, "As I have already stated, the government's decision is very clear. We are not going to open it (Sterlite plant). The next step is to appeal in the Supreme Court. We will fight till we exhaust all our final legal options. People need not worry needlessly or conduct protests. They don't need to bring children. I have requested. There is no obstacle for them to present petitions to us. Anyone can give petitions. But given the current circumstances, there is no need to bring children along.”

On December 16, the National Green Tribunal ordered the state government to give Sterlite consent to operate, terming the closure “not sustainable”. The tribunal's stand is in line with that of the three-member committee constituted to probe the closure of the plant. The NGT also directed Sterlite to spend Rs 100 crores within a period of three years for the welfare of the inhabitants in Thoothukudi district. In its final order, the NGT criticised the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board's (TNPCB) action, and accused the latter of adopting a hyper-technical approach, unmindful of the law.

Following this, the Madurai bench of Madras High Court ordered status quo be maintained on the matter in response to a PIL.

The copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi was shut down by the Tamil Nadu government on May 28, after the TNPCB stated that the plant had violated environmental norms and was causing large-scale pollution in the region, days after 13 civilians were shot dead during anti-Sterlite protests.

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