The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on January 8 the Tamil Nadu government’s plea against the reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi, Live Law reported. The National Green Tribunal had last month set aside the state government’s order to shut down the plant. However, the state has argued that the tribunal has no jurisdiction in the matter.

Senior advocate CA Sundaram, appearing for Vedanta, said that the matter should be heard urgently as there is a shortage of sulphuric acid at the plant, PTI reported.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had decided to shut down Vedanta’s copper smelter days after 13 people protesting against its expansion were killed on May 22 and May 23 last year. Last month, the green court described the state’s order as “unsustainable”. It directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to issue a fresh order of renewal of consent for the smelter within three weeks. The board has refused to do so.

However, the Madras High Court on December 21 had restrained Vedanta from reopening the plant after protests by activists and local groups. The Madurai branch of the High Court had said that the status quo would remain in effect until January 21.