Officials of Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi on Friday said the firm wants to mend its relationship with the local community.

“We have to mend things. We are in the process of building a bridge with the local populace. People are also coming forward and saying that they have been misled by few NGOs,” said P Ramnath, Chief Executive Officer of Sterlite Copper.

“We have been in Thoothukudi for the past 20 years and have contributed to the society and industrialisation in the area and we will continue to do that,” he said.

The firm, which is a part of Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group, pointed out that downstream industries and several MSMEs have been impacted due to the closure. This in turn impacted over 1.5 lakh workers directly and indirectly.

“More than 1.5 lakh employees are hit due to the closure of Sterlite copper. Raw material prices have shot up. Copper prices are up by 5-10%,” Mr Ramnath said.

Uncertain possiblities

Asked about the probability of re-opening the closed unit, Mr. Ramnath said that efforts are being made to meet the concerned officials. “We have to wait and see. We have not met anyone yet,” he said. Associations of chemical industries have already made their representations regarding raw material shortage to the State government, he pointed out. The plant closed down in March for annual maintenance. In May 2018, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) ordered closure of the plant and disconnected electricity supply.

A few days later, the State government ordered permanent closure and sealed the facility.

We have been in Thoothukudi for the past 20 years and have contributed to the society and industrialisation

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