Vedanta lauds SC asking NGT to decide on Sterlite plant

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New Delhi : Mining major Vedanta on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court's decision not to entertain the Tamil Nadu government's plea against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order allowing the company access to the administrative unit inside its subsidiary Sterlite Copper's closed plant at Tuticorin.

Directing the NGT earlier on Friday to take a final decision on the matter, an apex court bench also did not grant a stay on the proceedings of the case at the NGT challenging the smelter plant closure, as was sought by the Tamil Nadu government.

"We welcome the Supreme Court's decision directing that both the maintainability and merit of our case should be heard and decided by the National Green Tribunal. Our appeal is already scheduled for hearing before the National Green Tribunal on August 20, 2018," a Sterlite Copper statement said.

Tamil Nadu had ordered the closure of the Sterlite Tuticorin plant, around 650 km from Chennai, following protests and the death of 13 persons in police firing on May 22. The victims were taking part in a protest against the Sterlite Copper smelter plant.

On August 9, the NGT had allowed the London-listed Vedanta Resources led by Anil Agarwal to enter the administrative unit inside its Sterlite copper plant, observing that no environmental damage would be caused by allowing access to the administrative section.

The state government had challenged the NGT's order in the apex court.

Earlier this week, the Madras High Court issued a notice to Vedanta on a petition seeking Rs 750 crore towards rehabilitation of people who are affected by the pollution allegedly caused by the plant, and towards the relief of victims injured in the May police firing.