The Supreme Court today decided to hear the petition filed by Vedanta Limited on August 6, seeking directions to extend the permission period for producing oxygen at its Sterlite Copper plant, located in the port city of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, which was previously allowed by the apex court, in view of shortage of Oxygen in Tamil Nadu amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve mentioned the matter before the bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah. Mr Salve sought the Court’s permission to extend the July 31, 2021 time period granted to produce oxygen in Vedanta’s plant.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state of Tamil Nadu, opposed the application and said “We have sufficient amount of oxygen now.”
On April 27, the top court of the country had allowed Vedanta Limited to operate its Sterlite Copper Plant, situated in the Pearl City of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, to manufacture medical grade oxygen amid the national COVID-19 crisis.
The Court had also constituted an oversight committee to look after the affairs of the Plant, which is manufacturing oxygen. The Bench said the committee will constitute of the following persons:–
- Collector of Tuticorin, who will be the Chairperson of the committee.
- Superintendent of Police of the concerned district.
- District Engineer
- Two state government officials with expertise in environment
- Two environmental experts
- (A panel of environmental experts will be nominated by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and the members of the local community, who are the victims of the pollution caused by the Sterlite Factory. They will nominate two members from such panel, to be appointed as members of the oversight committee.
The Bench also gave stern warning that the plant should be used only for the purpose of manufacturing medical grade oxygen and not for any other purpose like manufacturing of copper and electricity.
The Court had further directed that the order will remain in force till July 31 and thereafter, the matter will be taken up again, if the situation warrants.
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