Supreme Court allows Vedanta to operate Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu to produce oxygen

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted Vedanta to operate its Oxygen production unit on standalone basis at Copper plant in Tuticorin as the country faces acute oxygen shortage amid unprecedented surge in Corona cases.

The plant had been lying closed for the past three years.

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud took into account the Tamil Nadu government’s decision at an all-party meeting to allow the re-opening of the plant for four months for oxygen production.

“The nation stands together in this moment. At present, Tamil Nadu’s oxygen demands are met. In case of any future need, they can approach us for changes,” he said.

“Vedanta can open the plant only to produce medical grade oxygen…The order is passed only in view of the national need for oxygen. The order will no not create any equities in favour of Vedanta,” clarified the Apex Court.

The order will continue till July 31, 2021 and further decision would be taken after assessing the ground situation with respect to Covid, it said.

It further ordered the Tamil Nadu Govt to form a Committee comprising of: (a) District Collector, Tuticorin; (b) SP, Tuticorin; (c) District Environmental engineer(d) Sub-Collector, Tuticorin; (e) Two govt officials with knowledge of affairs. The Committee will be responsible to monitor activities of Vedanta.

The Tamil Nadu government, had earlier agreed to reopen Vedanta’s plant temporarily for production of medical oxygen with sufficient safeguards, in an affidavit at the top court.

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