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Tamil Nadu pollution board refuses to let Sterlite operate

Last month, the NGT ordered the reopening of Vedanta's copper smelter plant called Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin.

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Government officials seal the Thoothukudi copper smelter controlled by Vedanta Resources in Tamil Nadu
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The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Wednesday rejected Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper plant's application seeking issuance of the renewal of consent to operate and to open the seal of the premises to carry out "urgent care and maintenance work".

Pointing to various letters from Vedanta requesting renewal of consent to operate the plant, TNPCB said the State Government and the Pollution Control Board have filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the December 15 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

"Hence, your request for the renewal of consent to operate, authorisation under the Hazardous Waste Rules and the opening of the premises for maintenance cannot be considered," TNPCB told Vedanta in a letter dated January 2.

Last month, the NGT ordered the reopening of Vedanta's copper smelter plant called Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin. The NGT set aside Tamil Nadu government's order to close the copper smelter plant and ordered the TNPCB to issue the renewal of consent to the company within three weeks.

The copper smelter plant was shut down by the state government following a protest that led to the killing of 13 persons and injuries to several others in a police firing. Ever since the copper smelter plant was permitted to be set up in Tuticorin several years ago, people have been protesting against it, calling it a polluting industry.

Sterlite Copper CEO P Ramnath had told reporters that once given an entry into the plant site following the NGT order, the factory can resume operations in one or two months.

Background

The copper smelter plant was shut down by the state government following a protest that led to the killing of 13 persons and injuries to several others in a police firing. Ever since the copper smelter plant was permitted to be set up in Tuticorin several years ago, people have been protesting against it, calling it a polluting industry

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