Vedanta’s copper unit shutdown in Tamil Nadu results in Rs 14,749 crore loss to economy: Niti Aayog-sponsored report

The shutting down of Vedanta’s copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu since May 2018 has resulted in a consolidated loss of around Rs 14,749 crore to the economy, according to a report.

According to a synthesis report by CUTS International, “Through the data collected and analysed for the purpose of this report, the consolidated loss to the economy owing to closure of the copper plant on all stakeholders is estimated to be around Rs 14,749 crore since its closure in May 2018.” The cumulative loss for the entire period of plant closure is roughly around 0.72 per cent of the State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP) of Tamil Nadu. The report further said that closure of plant has amounted to a loss of around Rs 4,777 crore to the company.

The report comes a month after Vedanta putting on sale its copper unit which was shut four years ago after 13 people were killed in a police firing on protestors agitating against alleged pollution by the unit.

The government is also losing considerable revenue in the form of taxes and duties, said the report which was carried out with the financial support of NITI Aayog and conducted by Consumer Unity & Trust Society, Jaipur.

These grave economic impacts on the varied stakeholders offers a pressing need to find better alternate remedies to balance matters concerning the development-environment conflict in the instant matter, it said. The Tamil Nadu government had ordered the permanent closure of the unit in the port city of Thoothukudi in May 2018 following violent protests.

The company had in past repeatedly denied allegations of its plant polluting the local environment and had moved the Supreme Court for the opening of the unit. But the apex court had so far not given a clear go-ahead. A company spokesperson had said the Tuticorin plant is a national asset that has been catering to 40 per cent of the domestic demand for copper and has played an integral role in the country’s self-sufficiency in copper.

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