CM Palaniswami to chair meet on Sterlite tomorrow

Chennai: A meeting would be chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the Secretariat here tomorrow to discuss the National Green Trinunal’s (NGT) order setting aside the closure of the Vedanta Ltd’s Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin.

Following a detailed dicussion, it is expected that a petition would be filed on their behalf in Supereme seeking toi set aside NGT’s order in a day or two.

The NGT on Saturday set aside the order of the state government to permanently close the Sterlite Copper plant, holding that it was non-sustainable and unjustified.

Allowing an appeal by Sterlite, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson A K Goel asked the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to pass a fresh order for renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances, subject to appropriate conditions for protection of the environment in accordance with law within three weeks from Saturday.

The State government had on 28 May ordered the permanent closure of the factory days after violent protests by the locals against the Sterlite led to death of 13 people in police firing.

In a terse reaction to the NGT verdict, Palaniswami told reporters in Salem yesterday that ‘the Tamilnadu government will appeal against this order in the Supreme Court’.

In the meeting tomorrow, senior Ministers and government offiials concerned are expected to take part.

Attacking the government, DMK President M K Stalin said it should not stop with merely saying it would appeal and take concrete action to permanently close the unit. The State cabinet should take a policy decision to ensure the permanent closure after gathering evidence of environmental threats and conducting scientific surveys to show continued operation of the copper unit would result in irreversible pollution, he said.

In its filing in the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Vedanta Ltd said the court had directed the TNPCB to pass fresh order of renewal of consent and restoration of electricity supply for the plant’s operations within three weeks.

“We will study the order in detail and shall take all the steps required to restart the operations as per guidelines given by the Honourable Court. We have been operating our Smelter with the best-in-class technology adopting best practices followed globally and shall continue to do so,” it said.

NT Bureau