SC to hear pollution board's plea on Sterlite plant

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court is likely to hear Friday a plea of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) challenging the National Green Tribunal's order directing the reopening of Sterlite Industries copper smelting unit in Tuticorin.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B. Lokur said that it would hear the matter Friday after counsel for the TNPCB mentioned it before the court Thursday.

The principal bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar May 31 directed the re-opening of the Sterlite Copper smelting plant which was ordered to be closed by the board for allegedly leaking toxic gas.

The TNPCB order shutting down the plant came in the wake of the residents of Thoothukudi town and nearby areas complaining to the district collector of high irritation, throat infection, severe cough and breathing problem and nausea due to emissions from the copper smelting plant March 23.

The TNPCB in its petition raised questions about the jurisdiction of the NGT to entertain a plea by the Sterlite Industries against the order of closure by it.

Seeking an "authoritative and final pronouncement" on the jurisdiction of NGT, the TNPCB petition contended that the tribunal should have directed asked the Sterlite Industries to an appellate authority created by it.

The board has contended that the NGT did not advance any reasons while setting aside its order and permitting the smelting plant - which is a major polluting unit - to commence operations.

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