Delivery schedules hit hard, they claim.

Copper consuming units in the South, especially in the small and medium scale, find themselves in a jam.

An acute shortage of copper has not only thrown their cost calculations haywire but also hit hard their delivery schedules.

Articulating their escalating pain at a press conference here on Tuesday, representatives of Copper Consumers’ Association of South India said the closure of the Toothukudi unit of Sterlite had pushed the 75-odd member units into a crisis. The Sterlite unit, they said, accounted for nearly 40% of the country’s total production. The small and medium copper consuming units in the south depended on the Sterlite unit for their copper needs. The closure of Sterlite unit in its wake had forced many of these units to default on their delivery schedules. To a question, Hemanth Mehta, treasurer of the association, said that copper imports weren’t that easy option. “Import of copper at such a short notice is not possible as most of the contracts are already done. The transit time is long and the overall cost of imports is much higher as compared to sourcing from within,’’ the association said. Also, imported copper pushed up costs by nearly 10%, he said. The situation, he said, could have negative cost implications for their downstream clients.

The 75-odd members of the association collectively employed 15,000-20,000 people. If the copper shortage persisted for a long time, a 30% job reduction across its member-units could become imminent, they said. They urged the government and stakeholders concerned to find an early and amicable solution to the demand-supply mismatch in copper. To a question, they said that the Sterlite imbroglio should find a quick and workable resolution encompassing all critical factors including jobs, pollution and the like.

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