Madras High Court stays construction of Sterlite copper plant

Madras High Court stays construction of Sterlite copper plant

Local residents have been protesting for months against the plant, which is operated by Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of London-based Vedanta Resources.

The firm's application to renew its licence to operate the copper smelter facility was rejected by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. The decision on the new construction, the court said, should be made by September. The agitators have been demanding the closure of the plant run by the Vedanta Group. Following the interim order, she told Puthiya Thalaimurai, "Although this is an interim stay, there are possibilities of it becoming a permanent stay". Sterlite claimed that it was within a notified industrial complex. In the light of the admission of the counsel for Vedanta that no public hearing was conducted, the bench said that such an approval can be considered only after the conduct of public hearing and consultation.

The public continues to suffer and complain about health hazards that were caused by the operation of the plant, she alleged.

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Chennai: Sterlite Copper on Wednesday said its factory in Tuticorin district is now non-functional and the company is awaiting approval from the authorities to resume operations at the site.

But according to the petitioner, SIPCOT Industrial Estate Phase II, where the proposed copper smelter plant was to be commissioned, itself was yet to obtain environmental clearance from the authorities. After holding that as of now, there is no proper approval from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi for expanding the second unit, a division bench of Justices M Sundar and Anita Sumant gave the direction.

The order comes days after 10 people were killed due to clashes between police and protesters demanding closure of the plant. Elsewhere, two police jeeps were set on fire and actor-politician Kamal Haasan was heckled when he went to a hospital to visit those who were injured in yesterday's police violence.

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