Vedanta falls 6% as HC refuses to allow the reopening of Sterlite copper plant
Shares of Vedanta Limited dipped 6 per cent to Rs 120.20 on the BSE after the Madras High Court refused to allow reopening of Sterlite copper smelting plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi.
A division bench of Justices T S Sivagnanam and V Bhavani Subbaroyan pronounced the verdict, seven months after reserving orders in the case. The court refused to stay the Tamil Nadu government’s order shutting down Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi.
Vedanta Limited had moved the court challenging the state government’s closure order against its Sterlite Copper Plant on May 28, 2018.
The Thoothukudi Sterlite copper smelting plant remains shut since April 9, 2018, after the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), through an order dated April 9, 2018, rejected the Consent to Operate (CTO) for the plant and issued a direction for closure and disconnection of power supply at the plant. The company has claimed that it is incurring a loss of Rs 5 crore every day due to the closure.
In May 2018, the government of Tamil Nadu issued orders with a direction to permanently seal the existing copper smelter plant at Tuticorin. The government order was issued after 13 anti-Sterlite protesters were shot down in police firing on May 22 2018. The factory had been facing protests from locals for several years over the alleged emissions from the factory. The protests took a turn for the worse after the company announced that it would double the plant’s capacity to 800,000 tonnes at an estimated investment of Rs 2,400 crore.
In response to Vedanta Limited’s appeal to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the aforementioned orders, in December 2018, NGT set aside Tamil Nadu government’s order and directed TNPCB to renew the CTO subject to compliance with certain directions as specified in the order.
However, in February 2019, the Supreme Court set aside NGT’s order on the grounds of maintainability and allowed the company to file a writ petition before the Madras High Court challenging the impugned orders and seek interim relief considering that the plant had been shut since March-end 2018.
The company filed a writ petition before Madras High Court challenging the various orders passed against the company in 2018 and 2013 and the matter was pending adjudication. The hearing was concluded on January 8, 2020.
At 11:25 AM, the stock had recovered from the losses and was trading 0.5 per cent lower at Rs 127.30 as compared to 0.5 per cent gain in the S&P BSE Sensex. Around 1.67 crore shares have changed hands on the NSE and BSE, combined, so far.