Chennai, Dec 15 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Saturday said the state government will go for an appeal against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to reopen Vedanta Ltd’s copper smelter plant, Sterlite Copper, in Tuticorin.
Speaking to reporters in Salem, about 360 km from here, Palaniswami said the state government had ordered the closure of Sterlite plant.
“The state government will appeal against the NGT’s order,” Palaniswami said.
Similar views were expressed by Tamil Nadu Minister for Environment and Pollution Control K.C. Karuppannan.
Speaking to reporters, Karuppannan said the Chief Minister is firm on closing down the Sterlite Copper smelter plant, adding: “The state government will challenge the NGT order in the Supreme Court.”
On Saturday, the NGT set the stage for reopening of the Vedanta’s Thoothukudi-based copper smelting plant by setting aside the Tamil Nadu government’s order to close it permanently, and directed the state pollution control body to pass a fresh order allowing renewal of consent for the plant within three weeks.
Reacting to the development DMK President M.K. Stalin said the NGT order is a slap on Tamil Nadu government’s face.
Stalin said the DMK and other opposition parties had urged the government to take a policy decision against Sterlite Copper by convening a cabinet meeting.
But Chief Minister Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam “mocked at our suggestion and they also did not heed to the warning of High Court while hearing a case”, Stalin said.
“The NGT order is an unwashable tar on the face of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister,” Stalin said.
According to him, the state government should gather sufficient evidence and also do studies to prove that the pollution by Sterlite Copper is irreversible and take a policy decision to close the plant at a meeting of the state cabinet.
Stalin said the government should not sing the same old song that they would prefer an appeal in the Supreme Court.
On his part, PMK Founder S. Ramadoss said the NGT’s decision is on expected lines, and therefore, neither surprising nor shocking.
Ramadoss said the order to reopen the copper smelter plant, popularly known as Sterlite Copper, shows that the corporate dominance has won.
According to Ramadoss, the state government is not interested in closing down the smelter plant but ordered the closure to calm down the situation in Tuticorin after the police fired at a procession against the plant killing 13 persons on May 22 this year.
“The state government’s closure order is nothing but a self goal scored,” Ramadoss said.
Tamil Nadu State Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) R. Mutharasan said the NGT’s order is shocking and disappointing.