The Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to issue an order on Vedanta Group's plea seeking an interim relief for care and maintenance of the Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi, which has been shut down for over 10 months now. The Bench adjourned the matter for hearing on April 23. The court refused to grant an interim relief to Vedanta to take up maintenance of the Sterlite Plant at Tuticorin and posted the case to April 23 for next hearing.
When the writ petitions filed by Sterlite Copper, a unit of Vedanta Limited, seeking to grant interim relief for care and maintenance of the plant came up for hearing, a Division Bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayana and Justice M Nirmal Kumar said the State government had already taken up the maintenance work, interim relief could not be granted. The plant, which has not been in operation from April for maintenance, was ordered by the state government for a permanent closure following a police action and death of 13 people in protests.
The State government on Wednesday accused Sterlite of raising a false alarm on care and maintenance of its copper smelter unit in Thoothukudi and making ‘erroneous’ attempts to keep the plant ready to resume operation. If Sterlite was worried of financial risk, the government has advised the plant to withdraw its machinery. The submission was made by Shambu Kallolikar, Principal Secretary, Department of Environment and Forest, in a detailed counter affidavit filed before a division bench of Madras HC, where the writ petition filed by Sterlite came up for hearing.