Skip to main content

There is motivated hate campaign against Sterlite Copper by some activists

By NS Venkataraman* 

It is reported in the media that NITI Aayog member V.K. Saraswat has pitched for providing a production linked incentive ( PLI) scheme to the copper sector, stating that primary copper production is critical for India to be an export hub.
The above statement is surprising , since Sterlite Copper , a large copper unit has been forced to remain closed for over four years now in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and the subject is before the Supreme Court for decision regarding reopening the unit.

Indian Copper scenario:

There are three copper smelter units set up in India namely Hindalco at Dahej, Gujarat with installed capacity of 5 lakh tonne per annum, Sterlite Copper at Tuticorin , Tamil Nadu with installed capacity of 4 lakh tonne per annum and Hindustan Copper Ltd. with much smaller capacity.
Hindustan Copper Ltd produces copper metal from the ore produced at their captive mines. Sterlite Copper and Hindalco Industries Ltd have been producing copper metal from imported copper concentrates.

Sterlite Copper Unit:

The Sterlite Copper unit which was set up over a decade back in Tamil Nadu was closed and re-opened more than once due to environmental issues raised by some activists.
Sterlite Copper has consistently said that it has not violated any environmental norms. National Green Tribunal confirmed that if there was any environmental issue in Tuticorin region, it has not been due to Sterlite Copper but for other reasons. National Green Tribunal permitted the operation of Sterlite Copper. However, due to violent agitation by the activists , the Sterlite Copper unit was ordered to be closed by Tamil Nadu Government in May, 2018.
While the unit has not been in operation for over four years now, a few investigation team including from Anna University have confirmed after detailed study that there have been no change in the environmental condition in Tuticorin region after the closure of Sterlite Copper unit. Obviously, this means that Sterlite Copper Unit has not been responsible for causing any environmental issues in the region.
When Sterlite Copper was operating, it was meeting around 33% of India’s requirement of copper, with annual copper demand of around 6,30 000 tonne per annum in India.
When Sterlite Copper was operating, India was exporting copper. After the stoppage of production of Sterlite Copper, India is now importing copper and India is now net importer of Copper with huge outflow of foreign exchange . In the global market, Chinese copper units gained considerably due to the stoppage of copper export from India.

What future for Sterlite Copper?

It is now not clear as to what would be the future of the Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin, since the matter is before the Supreme Court.
However, it appears that the motivated activists protesting against the Sterlite Copper operation and the politicians belonging to the ruling party and their allies in Tamil Nadu appear to be determined not to permit the resumption of operation of Sterlite Copper.
Due to the closure of the Sterlite Copper unit , around 2000 direct employees and around 7000 indirect employees such as workers employed by the contractors have lost the job. They have repeatedly appealed to the Government of Tamil Nadu to reopen the Sterlite Copper unit.
A number of residents living in Tuticorin and surrounding areas have also appealed to the Tamil Nadu government to reopen Sterlite Copper, as the continued closure is adversely impacting the economy in the region. Number of them confirmed that they have not been affected due to operation of Sterlite Copper.

Shift the Sterlite Copper unit out of Tamil Nadu

While the concern of the NITI Aayog member about inadequate production of copper in the country is appropriate , what is the point in launching the PLI scheme for copper production when a large capacity copper unit has been forced to remain closed in Tamil Nadu?
Considering the fact that Sterlite Copper was operating well and was also exporting copper successfully around the world, it is necessary that this valuable project should not be allowed to go waste.
Under the circumstances, considering the ground reality that there is a motivated hate campaign against Sterlite Copper unit by some activists and the state government is not in favour of the project for whatever reasons, the Government of India should encourage the Vedanta Group to shift the Sterlite Copper unit out of Tamil Nadu.
While shifting this large copper plant from Tuticorin to another location would be an expensive affair, it would certainly be much less expensive and much less time consuming. than setting up a new copper smelter project elsewhere.
Tamil Nadu’s loss will be a gain for some other state and certainly it would be a gain for the country as a whole.
*Trustee, Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai



This activist played a monumental role in cases related to environmental issues

By Ekansh Agarwal, Pooja Agarwal, Shubham Tripathi, Sachin Uttarwar, Himani Rathod*  Rohit Prajapati is an environmentalist and has set up a voluntary organization named Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, which is a voluntary organization. Rohit calls his organization a people's movement that constantly raises voices against different environmental issues. Rohit believes that environmental problems are not only constrained to preventing pollution and proper disposal of wastes but should be seen holistically. He believes that social activists can never work in isolation and must work with the community to pressure the authorities to take corrective actions, and the only way to work with the community is to raise the issues that benefit the community at large. Hence, he also tries to raise the issue of social importance along with environmental issues. When asked what he thinks about the current norms and regulations of CPCB and SPCB, he said that the existing standards and regulations are

India needs to take care of geo-economics in order to address its security issues

By IMPRI Team  National security is indispensable for a country’s survival and growth. Although security has been a complex issue in human history, its complexity increases in the contemporary period because of technological developments, climate change and various other factors. The complexity of security has led to constant thinking and rethinking about the idea of security, its processes, and dynamics. Given the multiplicity of security challenges that India faces, it is important to investigate the nature and scope of these challenges. As part of its series, T he State of International Affairs- #Diplomacy Dialogue , #IMPRI Centre for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi , organized the IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk with Dr Arvind Gupta, on Emerging Dimensions of India’s National Security. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta, CEO and Editorial Director at IMPRI, New Delhi began the discussion by mentioning the

Complaints of adverse impacts due to COVID vaccine should be settled efficiently

By Bharat Dogra  In recent weeks it has been proved beyond doubt that mass COVID vaccination among women and girls has led to a massive disruption of menstrual cycle and more particularly to excess bleeding among them. A scientific paper that has been widely cited in this context is titled ‘Invesigating trends in those who experience menstrual bleeding changes after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination’. This paper authored by Katherine M.N.Lee et al was published in ‘Science Advances’ dated 15 July, 2022. According to this survey, as many as 42% of those with regular menstrual cycle bled more heavily than usual. Earlier in March another paper in the International journal of Women’s Health written by Nadia Muhaidat had reportd tht 66 per cent of women had experienced menstrual abnormalities after vaccination. In September 2021 the British Medical Journal had proposed that a link between excessive bleeding and COVID vaccination was plausible, adding that such complaints are being increasingly receive

Endless wait for pension for India's 60 million unorganized sector senior citizens

By Bharat Dogra  The most important support needed by elderly persons is for regular and adequate pensions. Only about 10 per cent of senior citizens in India have access to regular and reasonable pensions. They are mostly those who have served in the civil government, armed forces and related parts of the formal sector. For the remaining over 90 per cent of senior citizens, pensions either do not exist, or else are irregular, uncertain or extremely inadequate. The pensions for this unorganized sector are provided mainly by the National Social Assistance Program or NSAP (and to a lesser extent by some other programs). Out of the nearly 82 million elderly citizens in this informal sector, this scheme of the Union Government manages to reach just about 22 million people. Many eligible and selected persons have been denied pension due to insistence on Aadhar and biometric recognition, various irregularities and other factors. Thus around 60 million elderly people are still waiting to ge

World appreciates Bangladesh’s relative stability amidst global inflation, Ukraine war

By Samina Akhter*  Due to the Ukraine-Russia war after the corona epidemic, the whole world is suffering from economic recession. In various countries of the world, the value of currency is falling, inflation is increasing. One country after another is going bankrupt. At that time, Bangladesh is slowly taking steps to understand the situation. After overcoming the crisis, Sheikh Hasina's country is running on a positive trend of economy. And the media of different countries of the world are praising this. World media is talking about Sheikh Hasina and her country. According to a report of Thailand's Bangkok Post, Bangladesh will not have a crisis like Sri Lanka. According to a report of the Financial Times of India, the economy of Bangladesh is stable even in the global recession. On the other hand, the report of The Express Tribune of Pakistan said to Pakistanis, learn from Sheikh Hasina. He is the pride of Bangladesh. The highlights of these reports are as follows: The crisis

Do or die? August revolution and India's ruling class: hard facts as seen by Dr Lohia

By Prem Singh  "Here is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: 'Do or Die'. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery. Every true Congressman or woman will join the struggle with an inflexible determination not to remain alive to see the country in bondage and slavery. Let that be your pledge." (Excerpt from Gandhiji's speech at the All-India Congress Committee meeting) Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia wrote a long letter to the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, on March 2, 1946. That letter is important and was appreciated by Gandhiji. The letter brings out the brutal and conspiratorial character of British imperialism. Lohia wrote that letter from jail. After playing an underground role for 21 months in the Quit India Movement, Lohia was arrested in Bombay on 10 May 1944. He was imprisoned first in Lahore F

Steve Otto strived to unite different trends of Communist camp, confronted dogmatism

By Harsh Thakor  One of my closest comrades Steve Otto, expired last week while sitting on the porch of his house. Some months ago, he lost his wife Cammy. He ran blogs ‘Ottos War Room’ and ‘Idiot Factor.’ I may not have personally met him but I don't have words to express my sense of loss at his demise and my gratitude for his support to my work. A writer who dipped his pen for service of the oppressed peoples. Few have ever been so supportive to me, giving such a platform to project my view. Such figures create avenues for young writers to blossom in the revolutionary movement. In hardest times, he helped me stand afloat. I deeply admire how he supported my writings on struggles in Punjab, Naxalbari, Maoism and progressive cultural activists, Hindi film actresses and actors, philosophers and swimming. Overall he was manifestation of the Marxist revolutionary as a spiritual being, revealing a subtle human touch. Steve portrayed why a Marxist or Maoist was creative. I recommend eve

GN Saibaba's book portrays how neo-fascism is penetrating India's parliamentary system

By Harsh Thakor  “Why Do You Fear Me So Much: Poems and Letters from Prison” by Professor G.N.Saibaba portrays the sheer inhumanity prevailing within prison walls in India, illustrating the barbaric jail practices. It is the best illustration of how genuine activists are falsely fabricated in India today ,with the judiciary virtually a tool or completely subservient to the ruling classes. The book portrays how neo-fascism is penetrating the parliamentary system at height unscaled, laws passed similar to colonial times. We get an insight into how spiritually the resolve of a political prisoner to combat fascism is further intensified within the confines of prison walls. The book illustrates the death defying courage of Professor Saibaba and his wife Vasantha Kumari in bearing the situation. It is the voice of all the oppressed people of India. A mascot for all revolutionary democrats confronting proto-fascism. Introduction In the Introduction Vasantha’s letter to Sai is published. H

Do we need this coal project in West Bengal, which displaces 21,000 people?

By Bharat Dogra  As the crisis of climate change has aggravated rapidly, there is a strong reason for being highly cautious about development of any new coal projects. Nevertheless, countries of the global south cannot entirely ban such development as they have to be concerned also about their crucial energy needs as well and of developing their own resources within the country for this. Countries of the global south have shown greater sense of responsibility than the developed and richest countries in this respect and they could have played an even more helpful role if the rich countries had kept to their earlier promises of generously helping the global south in this effort. Their promise of arranging a fund of 100 billion dollars a year for helping in this was a very modest effort which fell short of real needs, but the rich countries have been falling behind even in meeting this modest commitment of 100 billion dollars a year, which should be compared to the annual spending of 250

Wickremesinghe should know: Sri Lanka has nothing to gain by declaring support to China

By NS Venkataraman*  There appears to be a unanimous view in Sri Lanka and other countries that appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President of Sri Lanka is the best decision that has happened in the present turbulent time in Sri Lanka. Ranil Wickremesinghe has served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka six times and he has not completed full term even once and is not generally recognised as an exceptional administrator. However, he has been recognised as a reliable and decent and least controversial person by popular view and that is perhaps why governance of Sri Lanka has been handed over to him. Except a few professional demonstrators in Sri Lanka, the country is, by and large, willing to support him if he would take appropriate policy decisions and implement them in a pragmatic way. This is a good situation as far as it goes. Obviously, the priority for Ranil Wickremesinghe is to retrieve Sri Lankan economy from the present mess, which implies that he should ensure tha