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Vedanta denied in bid to reopen copper smelter


TOUGH TIMES:
Vedanta Ltd; and
(below) the scene at
their Tamil Nadu site
TOUGH TIMES: Vedanta Ltd; and (below) the scene at their Tamil Nadu site

INDIA TRIBUNAL RULES OUT TAMIL NADU REQUEST AFTER CONTROVERSY INDIA’S environmental court did not allow Vedanta Ltd to reopen its copper smelter in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a lawyer representing the state said last Thursday (5) after a hearing on the matter. India’s National Green Tribunal did not accept Vedanta’s request to reopen the smelter on an interim basis, V Mowli, a law­yer for the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) said outside the court. Vedanta has also sought a permanent in­junction against the Tamil Nadu state gov­ernment from interfering with the opera­tions of its copper smelter. The lawyer representing Vedanta in the hearing, Rohini Musa, did not respond to calls requesting comment. A company spokesman for Vedanta confirmed there was a case before the tribunal but did not com­ment specifically on last week’s decision. The Tamil Nadu government ordered the permanent closure of the plant and discon­nected its power supply in May following protests that turned violent and culminated in the police opening fire on protesters, kill­ing 13 of them. The protesters had demanded a perma­nent shutdown of the plant, which they said was causing air and water pollution, and as a risk to fisheries. Vedanta says the protests were based on false notions. Vedanta Ltd, a subsidiary of billionaire Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resourc­es, argued that the closure of the smelter was only based on “political considerations and to appease the public protests,” ac­cording to a copy of the petition reviewed by Reuters. However, the Tamil Nadu government will stick to its stance that the plant is pol­luting, said Rakesh Sharma, a second law­yer representing the TNPCB. “We’ll argue on their violation on envi­ronmental aspects,” he said. The case will be heard next on July 18 for the state to reply to the issues raised in…

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