Chennai: The Chennai division bench of the country’s environmental court on Monday transferred the case regarding the closure of the country’s largest copper smelter run by Sterlite Industries Ltd to the court at Delhi.
Earlier in the day, an expert panel submitted its findings on the inspection of smelter plant as directed by the environmental court.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board ordered the closure of the plant—which produces more than 300,000 tonnes of the metal a year—on 29 March after local residents complained about noxious emissions.
Sterlite, a unit of London-listed resources conglomerate Vedanta Resources Plc., has said the plant’s emissions are within permissible limits. On 1 April, Sterlite filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal in Chennai challenging the order of the state pollution control board.
“We received the findings of expert panel in a sealed envelope today morning which will be sent to the principal bench,” said Justice M.Chockalingam of the Chennai bench at National Green Tribunal.
“Intervening circumstances did not permit us to hear the case,” said the Justice.
“The case has been shifted to Delhi on our request and we did not ask them about the contents,” he added.
“I am shocked and disappointed,” said Vaiko, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu-based political party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, one of three entities supporting the state pollution watchdog’s order to shut the Sterlite plant.
Meanwhile on 16 April, the Tamil Nadu government said it would take a decision on the Sterlite Industries issue after the National Green Tribunal gave its verdict on the firm’s plea challenging the state Pollution Control Board’s order directing the closure of the copper smelting unit in Tuticorin.