Tamil Nadu, Ster­lite Slug it Out in NGT Over Plant Clo­sure

The Economic Times - - Companies & Economy - Bha­rani.Vaitheesvaran @times­group.com

JU­RIS­DIC­TION IS­SUES Tamil Nadu gov­ern­ment ar­gued that Ster­lite’s pe­ti­tion chal­leng­ing the plant’s clo­sure or­der can­not be ar­gued be­fore the NGT

Chen­nai: Ster­lite Cop­per has sub­mit­ted a re­port to the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal (NGT) say­ing it was sub­stan­tially in agree­ment with the panel re­port that held the clo­sure of the “un­sus­tain­able” plant, but had sug­ges­tions to cer­tain points present in the re­port, said coun­sel­lors present dur­ing the hear­ing on Fri­day.

The Tamil Nadu gov­ern­ment ar­gued that Ster­lite’s pe­ti­tion chal­leng­ing the plant’s clo­sure or­der can­not be held be­fore the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal, and that the Tarun Agrawal com­mit­tee can­not hold that the clo­sure of the fac­tory was against Prin­ci­ples of Nat­u­ral Jus­tice be­cause “it was a fact-find­ing com­mit­tee and does not have ju­di­cial pow­ers,” ac­cord­ing to a coun­sel­lor who was present in court on be­half of the state gov­ern­ment. The Na­tional Green Tri­bunal ad­journed the case un­til Mon­day.

The hear­ing on Fri­day fol­lowed the sub­mis­sion of a re­port by a 3mem­ber team headed by for­mer judge Tarun Agrawal. The re­port said that the grounds for clo­sure of the Vedanta fac­tory were not “that griev­ous” to war­rant the state gov­ern­ment’s move to shut the fac­tory. Should the NGT de­cide to al­low re­open­ing of the plant, the Com­mit­tee had made 25 rec­om­men­da­tions for the cop­per smelter plant and mon­i­tor­ing agen­cies such as the state pol­lu­tion con­trol board.

The Tarun Agrawal re­port, among other as­pects of en­v­i­ron- men­tal con­cern, dealt with the is­sue of dis­posal of gyp­sum and cop­per slag.

The re­port, ex­cerpted in an NGT or­der copy dated Novem­ber 28, rec­om­mended that the com­pany should seek prior per­mis­sion from the state pol­lu­tion board be­fore “dis­pos­ing cop­per slag, gyp­sum or any other waste prod­uct.” The re­port also man­dated that the state pol­lu­tion con­trol board should keep a tab on re­port of var­i­ous com­plaints by in­hab­i­tants, about ail­ments, liv­ing around the fac­tory premises.

Ster­lite Cop­per was shut through a gov­ern­ment or­der in May this year af­ter peo­ple were killed by po­lice fir­ing af­ter protests against the plant turned vi­o­lent. In Tamil Nadu, keep­ing Ster­lite Cop­per closed has been a po­lit­i­cal prom­ise by the Edap­padi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK gov­ern­ment.

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