Home » Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant gets orders to start upkeep work

Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant gets orders to start upkeep work

Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper has finally been given orders by the Tuticorin district administration to start some of the upkeep works at the plant as per the Supreme Court order. Though the Supreme Court, on April 10, had granted permission to Vedanta to carry out the maintenance work at its closed Sterlite plant, the company was awaiting the orders from the district administration to begin the work on the ground. A statement by Vedanta said: “We are happy to note that the district administration as per Supreme Court direction has released orders to start some of the upkeep works in the Sterlite plant. This will give us the privilege to engage local contractors and offer jobs to some people of Thoothukudi. We are thankful to the state and have full faith in judiciary that appropriate support and decision will be taken to ensure the welfare and progress of people of Thoothukudi and India.” Meanwhile, the company management is understood to have identified 27 damages to critical structure and equipment based on physical inspection, which will be addressed in a time-bound manner. Based on the communication of the additional chief secretary of state government to district collector, the SC, in its order, only allowed necessary consequential steps to be taken for activities such as evacuation of remaining gypsum, carrying out leachate collection sump pump operation, bund rectification of SLF-4, green belt maintenance and clearing of wild bushes and dried trees. “For the above four activities, around 117 manpower and for the remaining three activities another 440 manpower needs to be engaged,” according to sources A nine-member local level-monitoring committee, including two members from the company side, constituted by district collector will be supervising the activities. The apex court took the decision to allow upkeep of the plant based on the report of a high-powered committee (HPC) formed by the Tamil Nadu government to inspect the structural and civil safety of the unit. The copper plant remained shut since May 2018 following protests alleging environmental violations. Following the closure of the unit that used to contribute 40% of domestic copper production, India has become a net importer of the metal crucial for India’s energy transition from being a net exporter earlier. Vedanta in June 2022 had decided to put on sale the Sterlite Copper plant four years after it witnessed 13 casualties in an alleged police firing and has been shut since mid-2018, following a Tamil Nadu government order. After facing several legal and political hurdles in reopening the plant, owing to environmental issues, Vedanta posted an advertisement inviting EoIs for selling off the plant. The deadline for submitting EoI was July 4, 2022. However, the company retracted from the move to sell the plant and said it was looking to reopen it.

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