CHENNAI: The Copper Consumers Association of South India (CCASI) has alleged that the shutdown of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi has greatly affected small and medium copper-dependent industries in Tamil Nadu. It has also sent a representation to Industries Minister MC Sampath, urging him to reopen the unit.Speaking at a press meet here on Tuesday, Hemant Mehta, CCASI treasurer, claimed that the 70-odd companies, part of the CCASI, were not able to deliver on deadlines because of supply shortage. “The Sterlite unit produced around 40 per cent of the country’s copper and the closure is a big disruption,” he observed.
The import of copper from other countries is not an option for small and medium industries because of the small quantities they require, he said. AMR Gandhi, a member of the CCASI, said the premium on copper had increased by 9 per cent since the closure of the Sterlite plant and many small copper-dependent companies would sink in the days to come.“We don’t want to import from other countries because we believe in Make in India,” Gandhi said, explaining that they would only ask for import duty relaxations for copper, only as a last-resort measure.