TN allows Vedanta to temporarily operate oxygen units at Thoothukudi

Decision comes nearly a week after a Supreme Court bench agreed to hear Vedanta’s petition on the ground that it would produce 1,000 tons of oxygen and give it free of cost for treatment of patients

Sterlite Copper
The government has formed a monitoring panel to supervise the functions of the oxygen plants. | File Photo

The Tamil Nadu government has allowed Vedanta Ltd to operate its oxygen production units at the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, “strictly until July 31, 2021”.

The decision came nearly a week after a Supreme Court bench agreed to hear Vedanta’s petition on the ground that it would produce 1,000 tons of oxygen and give it free of cost for treatment of patients.

The government issued two orders on Thursday (April 29). It formed a seven-member monitoring committee to be headed by the Thoothukudi district collector to supervise the functions of the oxygen units and to decide their operation following the court directions.

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It directed the chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to ensure that other than the oxygen units, no other part of the plant is operational.

Also read: TN parties agree on opening Sterlite plant for oxygen, differ over who runs it

“The oxygen plant shall be run and managed by M/s Vedanta Industries Limited as per the directions issued by the monitoring committee and in compliance with environmental and safety norms,” the order issued by the Environment and Forests Secretary Sandeep Saxena said.

Also read: TN officials insist state has enough medical oxygen, but are reluctant to share details

The panel will also oversee the proper functioning of the oxygen units in compliance with the directions of the court. The panel has also been empowered to decide on the number of persons to be permitted within the premises of the plant and engage with the residents of the area to redress any concerns.

It will also conduct a safety audit before the commencement of operations and issue directions to ensure the safety of operations. The chairperson of the monitoring committee will also send a fortnightly report.

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