New Delhi. The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu to produce oxygen. The apex court granted the permission, citing it as a national necessity, amidst acute shortage of oxygen due to the Corona epidemic in the country. The court said that only the oxygen plant would be allowed to operate and the order has been passed keeping in view the national requirement for oxygen. The apex court clarified that the Sterlite Copper unit at Tuticorin on behalf of Vedanta is allowed to produce only oxygen and there would be no activity other than making oxygen here.
Passing the order, the bench also asked the Tamil Nadu government to set up a panel to oversee activities at the copper unit of Vedanta in Tuticorin. Let us know that this copper unit of Vedanta has been closed since May 2018.
The court made it clear that the Vedanta group would not enter the premises under the guise of our order and start work in the copper plant.
While giving the order, the Supreme Court also said that there should be no political discord about the production of oxygen by Vedanta. The Supreme Court said that this is a national crisis.
The apex court was hearing Vedanta’s plea that it had sought to open its Sterlite copper unit at Tuticorin and said that it would produce oxygen in it and give it free to treat patients.
Vedanta demanded handing over the plant for three months, saying that two months are required to start the unit and the company should be allowed to run it for four weeks to find out whether it is polluting or not.
In August 2020, Vedanta moved the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court order, which refused to allow the Tuticorin plant to reopen. The Madras High Court upheld the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) order to shut down the unit in May 2018.
Earlier, Vedanta had approached the concerned High Court in February 2019 and sought permission to reopen the Sterlite plant, which has been closed since the order of May 23, 2018.
On Monday, before the verdict of the top court, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.K. An all-party meeting chaired by Palaniswami unanimously decided to temporarily allow the operation of the oxygen plant at Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper Unit at Tuticorin for four months.
The meeting had decided that electricity would be supplied by the state government to operate the oxygen plant and other related units and Vedanta could not use its power facilities.