Reeling under a daily loss of Rs five crore due to the closure of its production unit in Tuticorin for nearly three years, metal and mining behemoth VedantaGroup has announced its plan to establish a copper smelter in a coastal state of India at an estimated cost of Rs 10,000 crore.
Vedanta Ltd, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, on Wednesday (31 March) called for Expression of Interest (EOI) from state governments for the 500 KTPA (Kilo Tonnes Per Annum) smelter that will require around 1,000 acres of land. It needs a port nearby and logistics to handle 5 MTPA (Million Tonnes Per Annum) material movement.
According to Vedanta, the proposed project would need about 1,000 acre in proximity to port along with logistics connectivity with conveyor/corridor of rail and road to handle five million TPA material movement on both in-bound and out-bound sides.
The company said the project has a potential to provide direct and indirect employment to 10,000 people and will contribute about Rs 3,000 crore to the government treasury as taxes and others.
Senior officials were not available to answer IANS to the query whether the company is exiting Tuticorin.
The Tamil Nadu government had ordered the copper smelter plant to be shut down in 2018 following a violent protest that led to the death of 13 persons in police firing.
The 400,000 ton Sterlite Copper smelter plant that has been operating in Tuticorin for over 25 years with a cumulative investment of about Rs 3,000 crore.
However, from the start, Sterlite Copper smelter plant has been facing protests by the local people alleging that it pollutes the environment.
Originally the plant was planned in Goa but it faced severe opposition from the state's people. However, the AIADMK regime under J. Jayalalithaa gave a warm welcome to the project and allotted land at Tuticorin.
Ever since then the plant was in the eye of storm with MDMK leader Vaiko leading a protest against the project and later filing a case.
The major political parties in Tamil Nadu -- AIADMK and DMK -- are against Vedanta's copper smelter plant in Tuticorin.
The Supreme Court is hearing the case on an appeal filed by the company against the Madras High Court's refusal to reopen the Sterlite Copper smelter plant in Tuticorin.
"The next hearing in the Supreme Court will be in August. The advertisement by the company seems they may be exiting Tuticorin," said Fatima Babu, one of the persons who had filed a case against Sterlite Copper told IANS.
(With Inputs From IANS)
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