The Sterlite Copper Smelter unit in Tuticorin, which was shut down over two months ago, has resumed operations after the National Green Tribunal's expert panel gave a green signal, officials said on Monday.
The panel members conducted its second phase of inspection on Sunday and checked if the pollution monitoring equipment at the unit was working properly.
Later they gave the green signal for the operation of the plant and the oxygen plant of the unit was started around six PM. Full-fledged working of the plant is expected to
commence in a few days, maximum one week, when production would start, officials said.
The team, comprising IIT Professors Sai, Liji Philip, Member-Secretary of Central Pollution control board Kamyotra, and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board Member-Secretary Balaji, would conduct one more phase of inspection and a report would be submitted to NGT and Supreme Court after that, they said.
Officials said the team inspected the plant ahead of production by the unit and it is expected to stay during the unit's running to see if there is any impact on the environment.
The TNPCB had on May 29 ordered closure of the plant on complaints that it was emitting toxic sulphur dioxide. The NGT then set aside the TNPCB order and allowed Sterlite Industries Ltd to resume operation of its copper smelting unit.
It had also ordered constitution of the four-member expert panel to supervise the plant's operations. The TNPCB then moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the green panel's order but the apex court refused to stay the NGT order allowing Sterlite Industries Ltd to resume operation of its smelting plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district under an expert committee's supervision.