The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday set the stage for the reopening of the Vedanta's Thoothukudi-based copper smelting plant by setting aside the Tamil Nadu government’s order to close it permanently.
NGT also asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to renew the permission for the plant within three weeks.
The order stated, "We allow this appeal, set aside the impugned orders and direct the TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) to pass a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances ... within three weeks from today," reported NDTV.
The Tribunal said that the restoration of electricity would be subject to the compliance of its directions. It has directed Vedanta to spend Rs 100 crore on projects like water supply, hospitals, health services and skill development in the area.
Besides this, Vedanta has been asked to create a dedicated and interactive website where stakeholders could lodge their environment-related grievance, and give timelines for the "effective compliance" of the conclusions of the Committee.
The order came months after the Tamil Nadu government ordered the shutdown of the plant over alleged pollution.
A violent protest demanding the closure of the plant in May led to at least 13 people getting killed and several others injured when the police opened fire at them.
Earlier, an independent expert committee had conducted an enquiry, and had acknowledged the allegations against the plant. But the final report suggested that the allegations were not serious enough to close the plant.
Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said that the government will approach Supreme Court against the order by the NGT. Majority of the political parties from the state have officially declared their opposition to the working of Sterlite plant in the past.
(With inputs from IANS)