Sterlite row: SC to hear TN plea against NGT order 8 Jan

Chennai: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on 8 January, Tamilnadu’s appeal against the NGT order to reopen Vedanta Ltd’s Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said the case will be heard next week. Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for Vedanta, said Tamilnadu has filed an appeal against the NGT order so the case be heard urgently as they are facing problems with storage of sulphuric acid in the plant.

The appeal was filed by the Tamilnadu government after it rejected the application of Sterlite copper to issue a certificate for Consent to Operate (CTO) its plant even though the National Green Tribunal had allowed for its reopening. The government and The Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board have filed an appeal against the NGT’s verdict in the Supreme Court.

In it’s appeal the Taminadu government has stated that the NGT failed to consider the entire gamut of data, documents and evidence placed on record in the case to show that the smelter had irreversibly polluted the groundwater in and around Thoothukudi district.

The NGT quashed a government of Tamilnadu order sealing the copper smelter shut, holding that it was ‘non-sustainable’ and ‘unjustified’. Following this, the Vedanta group company on 20 December said it had sought permission from TNPCB to open its plant.

On Wednesday, Principal Secretary and Chairman, TNPCB, Shambhu Kallolikar wrote to the associate vice-president of Sterlite Copper conveying the decision not to consider the request saying: “You are informed that the Tamilnadu government and TNPCB have filed the appeal before the Supreme Court on 2 January. Hence, your request for the issue of Authorisation under Hazardous Wastes Rules maintenance cannot be considered.”

US journo covering issue, blacklisted
Meanwhile, a US-based freelance journalist left the country Wednesday, a day after authorities here ordered his deportation for working on the Sterlite issue in violation of his tourist visa conditions, an official said.
Mark Scialla, who arrived here on 27 December last, boarded a flight to the US from Hyderabad Wednesday morning, Thoothukudi District Superintendent of Police, Murali Rambha, who issued the deportation order in his capacity as the district Foreigners Registration Officer, said. The official also said steps had been initiated to blacklist the journalist and a communication was being sent to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Chennai in view of ‘violation’ of the visa conditions by him.


NT Bureau