The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Secretary to Environment, Climate Change and Forests Department to consider the representation made by natural resources company Vedanta, seeking permission to remove certain raw materials and scrap from its Sterlite Copper unit in Thoothukudi.
A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Sundar and S. Srimathy directed the Secretary to consider the company’s representation within three months and pass appropriate orders. The court was hearing the petition filed in 2021 by Vedanta seeking a direction to the State government in this regard.
Vedanta said during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the entire country faced a shortage of medical oxygen. The company came forward to manufacture medical oxygen for supply to hospitals. The Supreme Court allowed it to operate its oxygen production unit on Sterlite Copper premises.
The company said it manufactured and supplied 2,132.64 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen and 7,833 cubic metres of gaseous medical oxygen. The cost of ₹38 crore involved in the process was borne entirely by Vedanta. It proposed to evacuate certain raw materials and scrap from Sterlite Copper premises and sell them so that it could cover a part of the cost incurred for oxygen production.
Some of these materials had a specific shelf life, and if they were not utilised within the time they would lose their value, the company said. Vedanta said it had made a representation to the State government seeking permission to remove the raw materials and scrap. Since there was no response, it filed the petition.