The National Green Tribunal, country's green court, on Saturday turned down Tamil Nadu government's plea to permanently shut down Vedanta's Sterlite Copper plant situated in Thoothukudi, saying it was "non-sustainable" and "unjustified".
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson A K Goel asked the Tamil Nadu 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 bench noted various lapses and lack of clearances on the Sterlite's behalf, however ordered in the favour of the firm to continue funtioning. But the bench has asked Vedanta to deposit 2.5 crores as a token amount for their failures.
Moreover, Vendata has been asked to invest about Rs 100 crore for the welfare of the inhabitants in the next three years.
Tamil Nadu government plans to appeal the Supreme Court for the permanent closure of the copper smelter plant.
AIADMK tweeted, "Honourable Minister for Environment and Pollution Control KC Karuppanan : Honourable CM Thiru Edappaadi K Palaniswami is firm on the closure of Sterlite; TN Govt will challenge the NGT final order before the Supreme Court."
Honourable Minister for Environment and Pollution Control KC Karuppanan : Honourable CM Thiru Edappaadi K Palaniswami is firm on the closure of Sterlite; TN Govt will challenge the NGT final order before the Supreme Court.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 15, 2018
NGT's order to overrule Tamil Nadu government's decision came months after the state government had announced to shut the plant for allegedly adding to the pollution level. The decision had stirred massive protests in the state.
At least 13 people were killed and several injured on May 22, when police had opened fire on a huge crowd protesting against environment pollution allegedly caused by the plant.
The Tamil Nadu government had, on May 28, ordered the state pollution control board to seal and "permanently" close the mining group's copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.