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Sterlite Industries' copper smelter plant resumes operations under vigil

The Sterlite Copper Smelter unit in Tuticorin has resumed operations after the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) expert panel gave a green signal.

PHOTO: Reuters PHOTO: Reuters
The Sterlite Copper Smelter unit in Tuticorin has resumed operations after the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) expert panel gave a green signal.

The panel members conducted its second phase of inspection on Sunday and checked if the pollution monitoring equipment at the unit was working properly. Later, they gave the green signal for the operation of the plant and the oxygen plant of the unit was started around 6 pm.

"Full-fledged working of the plant is expected to commence in a few days, maximum one week, when production would start," officials said.

The team, comprising IIT Professors Sai, Liji Philip, Member-Secretary of Central Pollution control board Kamyotra, and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) Member-Secretary Balaji, would conduct one more phase of inspection and a report would be submitted to NGT and the Supreme Court after that.

Officials said the team is expected to stay during the unit's running to see if there is any impact on the environment.

The plant was shut down over two months ago on an order of the TNPCB over complaints that it was emitting toxic sulphur dioxide. The NGT then set aside the TNPCB order and allowed Sterlite Industries Ltd to resume operation of its copper smelting unit. It had also ordered constitution of the four-member expert panel to supervise the plant's operations.

The TNPCB then moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the green panel's order but the apex court refused to stay the NGT order allowing Sterlite Industries Ltd to resume operation of its smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district under an expert committee's supervision.

With inputs from PTI