Thoothukudi: Sterlite Copper has requested the Central government to allow it to abandon the sector-specific special economic zone (SSEZ) status issued for its expansion unit that has been put on stay.
The copper major had obtained the approval of the union ministry of commerce and industry to set up its proposed second unit over 128.05 hectares in Therkku Veerapandipuram in Ottapidaram taluk in Thoothukudi district, as a sector-specific special economic zone (SSSEZ) on February 2, 2013.
The union ministry notified on May 3, 2013, that the copper SEZ of Sterlite would also be deemed to be an inland container depot under section 7 of the customs act 1962. Having been given the status of the SEZ, the proposed second unit of Sterlite was given approval to avail concession of capital goods imported by the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) under the SEZ rule 2006.
However, the copper major was forced to give up its expansion plan, following a people's agitation. Hence the Sterlite administration stayed the proposed expansion plan.
In his reply to an RTI enquiry by a Tirunelveli-based social activist S P Muthuraman, the under secretary, union ministry of commerce and Industry, Aditya Narayanan stated on June 27, 2019, that Sterlite had applied for the exit of its SEZ unit from the SEZ under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme and an in-principle “No objection” to exit from SEZ has been granted to the second unit of Sterlite on March 16, 2018, before state
government's decision to shut down the industry on May 2018.
The under secretary also added in his reply to the RTI, “The unit has imported goods worth Rs 105 crore and domestically procured goods worth Rs 10 crore, is yet to complete the exit formalities and therefore the final approval for exit is yet to be issued.”
Confirming that Sterlite copper has decided to exit from the SEZ status given to it, a top official from the copper major clarified that the decision was purely a commercial exercise taken in the interests of the company and has no connection with the police firing as the company had applied for its exit from
SEZ in 2017, much before the agitations started. Ends