Tamil Nadu

Sterlite to reopen smelter in 2 months

Days after the National Green Tribunal ruled in favour of the company restarting operations, Vedanta Limited’s Sterlite Copper has applied for a fresh ‘Consent to Operate’ from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for its Thoothukudi plant.

“We have already approached the TNPCB. The application has been submitted,” Sterlite Copper CEO P. Ramnath told a press conference to list out the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and plans in Thoothukudi.

Mr. Ramnath said it would take about two months to get the plant up and running with adequate safety measures. “We have to be given permission to enter the plant, so that we can take up care and maintenance [of equipment],” he said.

As the company was preparing to set up a second plant in Thoothukudi, locals began protests and on the 100th day of protests 13 persons were killed in a police firing in May. The State sealed the plant, passed an order and claimed that it was shut permanently. Meanwhile, the NGT directed the TNPCB to issue renewal of the CTO within three weeks.

On State appeal

When asked about the State government’s plans to approach the Supreme Court against the NGT judgment, he said “the company will cross the bridge when it gets to it”.

On the rationale behind the NGT’s judgment, Mr. Ramnath said the pollution control board had neither given clearance nor rejected the application for managing the hazardous waste at the plant.

“For five years, we have been applying for the hazardous waste authorisation. They kept getting back to us with just queries. They neither rejected it nor gave the authorisation,” he said.

In the past few months, the company has reached out to the Thoothukudi people and had heard them out completely, he said. As part of the CSR efforts, the company has planned activities like setting up a school, hospital and youth development schemes, he added.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 4:21:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sterlite-to-reopen-smelter-in-2-months-applies-for-fresh-consent-to-operate-from-tnpcb-for-thoothukudi-facility/article25792627.ece

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