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Panel to NGT: Sterlite plant shutdown is ‘unsustainable’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 29, 2018 Published on November 28, 2018

P Ramnath, CEO of Sterlite Copper.   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Wants Vedanta to set waste control rules with CPCB monitoring

The three-member independent committee formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has termed the shutdown of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, “unsustainable”, and said it it is against the principles of natural justice.

The tribunal was hearing arguments in the ongoing case between Sterlite and the TN government, with the latter keen on the closure of the plant.

In its report, the committee has recommended that Vedanta set waste management rules at the plant and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitor compliance with pollution control norms.

The committee, headed by former Meghalaya High Court Chief Justice Tarun Agrawal, said no notice or opportunity of hearing was given to Vedanta before the closure.

Site visit

It submitted the report following a site visit and public consultations. It had received thousands of letters from pro- and anti-Sterlite groups.

In May, 13 civilians lost their lives after a protest by locals asking for the plant to be shut down turned violent. Vedanta had approached the NGT against the consequent decision of the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to shut down the plant.

Vedanta now claims the committee report, if implemented, will offer relief to the approximately 25,000 families impacted by the closure.

Reacting to the NGT committee report, P Ramnath, CEO of Sterlite Copper, said Vedanta has always been environmentally conscious in every aspect of operations, and followed all the regulations.

“The NGT committee has taken time to follow due process, independently investigate and hear both sides of the argument. They have finally submitted a report stating that the sudden closure of Sterlite Copper is against natural justice. We have consistently been voicing the fact that Sterlite Copper is not a pollutant and the NGT report also states the same,” he added.

The matter is now listed for consideration with the NGT on December 7.

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Published on November 28, 2018
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