Sterlite’s plea for renewal of consent to operate rejected

Company has not met conditions for renewal, says TNPCB

April 10, 2018 11:40 pm | Updated April 11, 2018 07:09 am IST -

A view of the Sterlite unit at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

A view of the Sterlite unit at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

In a major setback to Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelter unit at Thoothukudi, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has rejected the company’s plea to renew the consent to operate.

The plea was rejected “because the company did not meet the conditions laid down by the Board adequately”, an official release quoted TNPCB chairman Mohammed Nasimuddin as saying. However, the release didn’t elaborate on the conditions that were not met.

When asked about the development, a highly placed source in the Environment Ministry said the request had been rejected in view of the stiff opposition that the company faced not just in and around Thoothukudi but also on social media. “Once the protests are over, the board would take a relook at the plea,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Vedanta has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange that its application for renewal of consent has been “rejected for want of more clarifications”.

‘Step in right direction’

Welcoming the TNPCB order, MDMK leader Vaiko said the rejection opened the way for permanent closure of the unit. Tamil Maanila Congress leader and former Union Minister G.K. Vasan welcomed the decision of the TNPCB and further urged the State government to initiate work to permanently shut down the unit.

Kamal Haasan, founder of Makkal Needhi Maiam, tweeted, “Congrats, Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board. The non-renewal of consent to operate for existing plant of Sterlite is a step in the right direction but we have miles to go.”

All India Samathuva Makhal Katchi leader R. Sarath Kumar said the rejection was the first victory for the peaceful protests that have been going on against the unit.

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