According to India’s premier exports body, closure of Sterlite plant in Tamilnadu might bring down India’s exports by as much as $3 billion in the current financial year (FY20), reports The Hindu BusinessLine (BL).
“The loss could be to the tune of $3 billion this fiscal. And there is also a fear of rising imports of inferior or hazardous quality of copper scrap,” said Ravi Sehgal, chief of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC).
Sterlite’s smelter plant in Toothukudi was a significant exporter of Indian copper and copper products. With its closure, exports of the metal and its products fell by as much as 61 per cent to $127.43 million in March (FY19) compared to the corresponding month last year (FY18).
Also, cumulative exports dropped by 69.4 per cent to $1.06 billion for the entire 2018-19 financial year (FY19).
In May 2018 Tamilnadu state government passed an order to permanently shut down the unit. This order was passed in the aftermath of violent protests that erupted in the region on account of pollution concerns. Almost 13 people were killed in the anti-Sterlite protests on 22 May last year during police firing.
Though the National Green Tribunal (NGT) set aside the Tamil Nadu Government’s order to close the Thoothukudi plant, the Supreme Court intervened and stayed NGT's order. Thus, the plant still remains nonoperational. The case is currently pending in Madra High Court.
Earlier Vedanta Ltd, which owns Sterlite, told the Madras High Court that it was incurring a loss of Rs 5 crore per day due to forced closure of its Sterlite copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi by the Tamil Nadu government.