Vedanta moves SC to continue making medical grade oxygen beyond July 31

By: |
August 03, 2021 12:57 AM

A bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud posted the matter for hearing next week after senior counsel Harish Salve mentioned the matter for urgent hearing. However, the Tamil Nadu government, through senior counsel Kapil Sibal, said it is opposed to continuation of oxygen production in the plant as the state had sufficient quantity of liquid oxygen.

Thirteen people were killed when police opened fire during a protest against environmental pollution allegedly caused by the plant.Thirteen people were killed when police opened fire during a protest against environmental pollution allegedly caused by the plant.

Vedanta on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to continue manufacture of medical grade oxygen beyond July 31 from its copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, a stand opposed by the state government.

A bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud posted the matter for hearing next week after senior counsel Harish Salve mentioned the matter for urgent hearing. However, the Tamil Nadu government, through senior counsel Kapil Sibal, said it is opposed to continuation of oxygen production in the plant as the state had sufficient quantity of liquid oxygen.

In the middle of second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the apex court on April 27 had allowed Vedanta to reopen its plant and manufacture oxygen till July 31 as the company had claimed that it wanted to help the national cause amid massive upsurge in cases.

“We are inclined to allow Vedanta’s prayer to operate the oxygen plant as a standalone unit. “The order is passed only in view of the national need for oxygen. “The order will not create any equity in favour of Vedanta,” the apex court said.

However, Vedanta will not be allowed to enter and operate the copper smelting plant or power plant under the garb of this order, it had ordered.

The top court had further directed that its order will remain in force till July 31 and thereafter, the matter will be taken up again, if the situation warrants.

The state government had then agreed to temporarily reopen the plant for four months in view of the shortage of oxygen in the country amid the pandemic.

The plant run by Vedanta arm Sterlite was sealed by the TN government on May 28, 2018 for environmental concerns.

Thirteen people were killed when police opened fire during a protest against environmental pollution allegedly caused by the plant.

Vedanta had earlier argued that the copper smelter directly employed 4,000 people and another 20,000 indirectly, while more than 200,000 people in downstream industries depended on the plant that used to produce 37% of India’s total copper.

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