Days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave permission to Vedanta to enter the now-sealed Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi to carry out administrative works, the Tamil Nadu government is mulling taking the matter to the Supreme Court.
According to reports, the decision to approach the apex court against NGTâ€™s order was taken in a high-level meeting held by TN Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday. The meeting, attended by Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and top officials from the TN Pollution Control Board, discussed the NGT order in detail and took this decision to address the fear of the plant reopening.
Reports also said that the government will wait for the next hearing of the case on August 20 and then take the matter to the Supreme Court.
The NGT, on August 9, allowed Sterlite to enter the plant and undertake administrative tasks.
Vedanta, which is the parent company of Sterlite Copper Smelter plant, had approached NGT with a petition requesting the tribunal to appoint an expert committee to study the effects caused by the plant during its operations. Denying the allegations that Sterlite was the reason for pollution in the area, the petition sought permission to operate the plant for 30 days, which will be studied by the committee which would then submit a report to the court on the quantum of pollution caused by the plant.
It also stated that the company has to disburse salaries to its employees and file tax returns and hence wanted access to the administrative areas of the plant.
Despite TN governmentâ€™s strong objection, the NGT stated that since the governmentâ€™s concern is only pollution, administrative works done within the plant are allowed. The tribunal also did not specify a time limit by which Sterlite should complete the said administrative works.
Warning Sterlite to not undertake production activities during the time period where they are allowed to carry on administrative works, the tribunal posted the case for its next hearing on August 20.