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TN junks Sterlites plea to renew consent to operate plant

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 10, 2018  | 18:12 IST

Chennai, Apr 10 (PTI) Amid protests demanding closure of the Sterlite unit in Tuticorin district, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board today said it has rejected its application seeking renewal of consent to operate the plant.

TNPC Board norms were not "properly fulfilled," by Sterlite, TNPCB chairman Mohammed Nazimuddin said in an official release.

In view of this, the Board has rejected the Vedantas copper making unit Sterlites application seeking renewal of consent to operate its existing plant, it said.

The consent to operate accorded previously by the Board ended on March 31, 2018. The development comes after about a two month long protest by local people including students against Sterlite alleging pollution and resultant serious health hazards to the people.

In a filing to BSE today, Vedanta said its application has been rejected for want of more clarifications adding it was evaluating further course of action.

"Please take note that the company had applied for renewal of consent to operate (CTO) for its existing smelter plant at Thoothukudi. The application has been rejected for want of more clarifications. The company is evaluating further course of action," it said.

On March 27, the company had said as part of regular maintenance programme, its smelting operations at Thoothukudi (also known as Tuticorin) had undergone maintenance shutdown for approximately 15 days, The company said today the "scheduled maintenance activities were supposed to be for a period of approximately 15 days from the said date (March 27, 2018)." It is now likely to be extended given the above development, the release said.

"The company shall update further developments from time to time," it added. Residents of A Kumarareddiapuram village in Tuticorn district have been on a protest mode against the Sterlite plant for the last two months.

The protest was against both Sterlites expansion plan and its existing unit which found support from political parties including the main opposition DMK and a slew of pro-Tamil outfits. On April 1, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan had expressed solidarity with the protest against Sterlite. "The expansion (of Sterlite Copper, a unit of Vedanta) should not at all be allowed...if possible it will be good to close down this (existing) unit," he had said.

Recently, the state government had also said it was examining complaints of residents against the unit. `

Actor Rajinikanth had recently said the government was not responding to protests by locals.

A leading copper producer, Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000 Tonnes Per Annum plant in Tuticorin. PTI VGN BN BN

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