Following the orders issued by the Tamil Nadu government on May 28, calling for the permanent closure of Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi, its parent company Vedanta has announced that it will challenge the order at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Delhi.
The NGT was set up to handle cases pertaining to environmental issues and requires a member of the judiciary and an expert to be on the bench for judgements.
The lone member of the NGT’s Southern Bench retired earlier this year in January, therefore Sterlite will be moving the Tribunal in New Delhi.
Sterlite has appealed under section 16 of the NGT Act 2010, which states that, “any person aggrieved by an order or decision made, on or after the commencement of the National Green Tribunal Act, may, within a period of thirty days from the date on which the order or decision or direction or determination is communicated to him, prefer an appeal to the Tribunal.”
Residents have stated that the plant pollutes the water and air, which has led to the death of a number of people in the city.
Earlier this year, on May 22, violence had broke out on the 100th day of the Sterlite protest after police opened fire on residents who were marching towards the District Collector’s office. Thirteen civilians were shot by the police during the confrontation, and scores of others were injured.
Following this, on May 28, the Tamil Nadu Government issued an order to permanently shut down the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi, “Under sections, 18(1)(b) of the Water Act, 1974 in the larger public interest, the Government endorse the closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and also direct the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to seal the unit and close the plant permanently.”