SC allows Sterlite to operate Tamil Nadu plant

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday allowed the Sterlite Industries’ smelting copper plant to continue operations in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin and asked it to deposit Rs.100 crore with the authorities to restore the environmental damages.

The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay said the amount was imposed in view of the pollution caused by the plant in the Tuticorin area from 1997 to 2011.

“An amount less than this will not have the desired deterrent effect,” Justice Patnaik said while pronouncing the judgment.

The court said that its order directing the Sterlite Industries India Ltd. to pay damages of Rs.100 crore would not stand in the way of any other damage claims during that period by way of civil suit.

The apex court bench added the figure of Rs.100 crore was not final and that in future if there were violations, damages could be demanded. “This amount is only for causing damages to the environment from 1997 to 2011,” the court said.

The court set aside the 2010 Madras High Court order which directed the closure of the Tuticorin plant of Sterlite Industries, which is part of Vedanta Resources group.

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