New Delhi, Dec 15 (PTI) Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of Vedanta Ltd, Saturday welcomed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order allowing the company to resume operations at its unit at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.

In May, the company had to close its smelter plant in Tamil Nadu following a state government order. The company had challenged the order in the NGT.

The state government had ordered permanent closure of the company’s copper unit after 13 people, among protesters demanding its shutdown on environmental concerns, were killed in police firing.

On Saturday’s NGT order, Sterlite Copper CEO P Ramnath said, “We welcome the order given by the National Green Tribunal on allowing us to resume operations of our copper smelter at Thoothukudi (also known as Tuticorin).” The NGT set aside the Tamil Nadu government order for closure of the copper unit at Tuticorin, which was at the centre of massive protests over alleged pollution, saying it was “non sustainable” and “unjustified”.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson A K Goel asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to pass a fresh order for renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances, subject to appropriate conditions for protection of the environment in accordance with law within three weeks from Saturday.

Satisfied with the order, Ramnath further said, “We are happy that all those affected by the closure will get back their source of livelihood and the town of Thoothukudi will revert to normalcy.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.