Chennai, August 19: In a setback to Vedanta, the Madras High Court Tuesday rejected the company’s plea to reopen Sterlite Copper smelting plant in the state’s Tuticorin district. 

The plant has been shut since April 2018. Thirteen people were killed in police firing in May the same year during protests against the plant. 

Tuesday’s court order upheld the Tamil Nadu government’s move to close the plant citing major environment law violations, NDTV reported. 

“This verdict is yet another proof that people’s voice will always win,” Kamal Haasan said. Alleging knee-jerk reaction by the state government, Vedanta has denied it was polluting the environment and claimed hazardous wastes identified by the Pollution Control Board have already been removed. 

Sterlite Copper CEO Pankaj Kumar Tuesday said the firm will pursue all legal remedies.

The Tamil Nadu government had argued in court that the deaths in police firing were not the only reason why the plant was shut down. It said the Sterlite plant was a big threat to the environment and ecology, and pollutants released by Sterlite were much higher than other companies in the area. 

The National Green Tribunal gave a favourable order to Sterlite in December 2018. However, the Supreme Court struck it down over jurisdiction issues and ordered Vedanta to approach the Madras High Court, after which the company filed multiple petitions in February last year.

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