The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has ordered the closure of Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi with immediate effect and disconnected electricity supply to the unit early on Thursday.
Orders to close the plant were issued by the Chairman of the TNPCB on Wednesday. The power supply to the unit was disconnected at 5.15 a.m. on Thursday, sources said.
In its orders, the TNPCB said that during inspections undertaken by its officials on May 18 and 19, it was found that “the unit was carrying out activities to resume its production operations.”
Following this, the Joint Chief Environmental Engineer, Tirunelveli, recommended disconnection of electricity supply to the plant.
The TNPCB ordered the closure and disconnection of electricity supply under provisions of Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Section 31A of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1971.
The Board took cognisance of the application made by Vedanta Ltd. seeking renewal of the Consent To Operate (CTO) and the rejection of the application in April by the Board for non-compliance of certain conditions under the previous CTO.
12 protesters died in police firing in the last two days in Thoothukudi. On Wednesday evening, the Tamil Nadu government invoked a “public emergency” and asked internet service providers to cut off internet services for 5 days in Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari districts, to prevent spread of provocative messages on social media by anti-social elements.