Order to shut Sterlite Copper plant a policy decision: Tamil Nadu to HC

By: | Published: June 23, 2018 2:29 AM

The Tamil Nadu government on Friday contended in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court that its order to close down the Sterlite Copper plant at Tuticorin permanently was purely a policy decision taken at the highest level.

Last week, based on the writ petitions, the Madras High Court expressed its dissatisfaction over the government order for shutting down the Sterlite Copper plant on May 28 and asked the state government to come out with a policy decision to do so.

The Tamil Nadu government on Friday contended in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court that its order to close down the Sterlite Copper plant at Tuticorin permanently was purely a policy decision taken at the highest level.

The above submission was made by the state’s advocate-general Vijay Narayan to the Madurai bench of the Madras HC, which sought clarification from the state government whether its order to close down the Sterlite Copper plant permanently was backed by the state government’s policy decision.

When the case came up for hearing on Friday, appearing for the state government, advocate-general Narayan made submissions to the court that the GO (government order) on permanent closure of the Sterlite plant at Tuticorin was a reflection of a ‘policy decision’ taken at the highest level in the state government by the chief minister. Following his submissions, the Madurai bench disposed of a writ petition filed by MDMK leader Vaiko, who in his writ petition questioned whether the state government’s order was true or not, sources in Chennai said.

Vaiko, in his writ petition, said like the earlier occasion the company may move higher courts to seek reopening of the plant.

Last week, based on the writ petitions, the Madras High Court expressed its dissatisfaction over the government order for shutting down the Sterlite Copper plant on May 28 and asked the state government to come out with a policy decision to do so.

It may be recalled that post the shoot-out incident that took place on May 22, killing 13 people, the state government swung into action, issuing an order of permanent closure of the Sterlite plant as well as ensured disconnection of power and water supply to the plant.

Last Saturday, state authorities found that there was a gas leakage from the sulphuric acid storage plant and started clearing the acid stores in thousands of tonnes in the tanks. State government authorities claimed most part of the hazardous material was cleared and would complete the job in the next two days.

Meanwhile, Sterlite moved the Madurai bench on Tuesday, seeking access to the plant to assist government authorities in arresting the gas leakage. It informed the HC that the company was ready to provide experts to supervise the evacuation of sulphuric acid from the plant. The HC had asked for the state government’s response in this regard and the hearing is coming up on Monday again.

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