NGT has cleared the way for reopening of the Sterlite copper plant but Tamil Nadu government has decided to move Supreme Court against the order. Before Tamil Nadu government decided to move Supreme Court, NGT ordered reopening of the plant in its order. “If anything was still required to be done in that regard by the appellant[Sterlite Copper], this could not be a ground for rejecting consent for renewal or for closing the unit without opportunity of hearing to the appellant. Even if there is a technical breach as contended on behalf of the respondents, the breach is trivial in nature causing no prejudice to anyone,” said the NGT order.
The reopening of plant is very important for state’s economy but the Tamil Nadu government is succumbing to the pressure exerted by Christian missionaries, left-leaning groups and NGOs which get substantial foreign funding. It was found that even the church was involved in organizing the protest against the Sterlite plant. Swarajya Magazine had earlier reported that the churches in the region appealed to its members to support the anti-Sterlite protest. The magazine had also reported that a mob, comprising of around 5,000 people, had gathered in front of one of the churches in the region before it proceeded to wreak havoc. The article went on to claim that according to the Intelligence Bureau, there were Naxal elements among the protesters too and that the police had been tipped off about this.
Vedanta Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin alone produced 40 percent of the country’s total copper, and hence it is significant for the entire nation. Copper imports to India rose by 221 percent in June quarter, primarily due to the closing of Tuticorin plant. Tuticorin plant produced 400,000 tonnes of Copper per annum, accounting for 40 percent of total copper production in the country. After its closure, total production in India fell by 47.1 percent in the June quarter. The rise in prices of copper due to shutdown has led businesses and people to look for the alternatives of copper. Alternatives for copper in electrical repairing (34%) and other purposes though appears viable but its uses in building & construction (8%), automobiles (11%) and consumer durable segments (8%) have to bear with losses of increased price.
So, it seems that church and Naxals succeeded in hampering the economic interests of India, Tamil Nadu, and poor people of the region due to the lackluster attitude of state government.
The ‘economic interest’ of the country witnessed a setback due to the closure of the Tuticorin plant and this is an example of how politics over important institutions can hamper the interest of the nation. The closure of the Sterlite plant did not only hurt the copper industry but also thousands of medium and small sector units which were dependent on Vedanta’s plant. The ‘negative spillover effect’ of the closure of plant impacted the electrical industry, building and construction industry, automobiles industry, and consumer durables industry.
The state governments should have a more co-operative attitude towards industries. Only initiatives from central government will not be enough for the growth of economy.
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