The Supreme Court, through an interim order, has allowed the copper smelter plant of Sterlite Industries at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, to continue operations. At the same time, it has directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to issue a direction to the company within two weeks, and give it a timeframe to take appropriate measures to stop pollution.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Sterlite against the Madras High Court order. The High Court, in September last year, had directed the plant be closed down immediately as it was not complying with environmentalnorms.
The TNPCB had filed an affidavit on 30 August 2011, listing the 'deficiencies'in the plant that were causing the pollution, and had suggested measures to be implemented under each head.
The 'deficiencies' listed were in emission control in the process section,fugitive emission control, effluent treatment, disposal of rejects from the effluenttreatment plant, raw material storage handling, storm water drainage and collection, system solid waste disposal, monitoring of air quality, effluentand water consumption and in green belt development.
After going through the report, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice R V Raveendran and Justice A K Patnaik said, "We direct the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to issue directions in exercise of its powers under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, to the petitioner-industryto carry out the aforesaid measures and remove the aforesaid deficiencieswithin such time as it thinks reasonable and proper."
The court has directed the matter to be listed for further hearing in thefirst week of January 2012. The interim stay on the Madras High Court judgmentordering closure of the plant would continue until that time, it said.