The Vedanta Group has received ‘multiple expressions of interest’ for the controversial Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu and the group will take a call on the bids, Anil Agarwal, Chairman of the Group told BusinessLine.

THOOTHUKUDI, TAMIL NADU, 26/04/2021: A view of the Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi on Monday. Photo : RAJESH N

THOOTHUKUDI, TAMIL NADU, 26/04/2021: A view of the Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi on Monday. Photo : RAJESH N | Photo Credit:

“I have trust in the judiciary. I have no doubt, whether we open it or somebody else does, the plant is a national asset. We have received multiple expressions of interest,” said Agarwal . The company is seeking to divest the plant located at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, which has been shut since 2018 after protests on alleged environment norm violation.

Semiconductor unit

Vedanta Group is also evaluating competing offers from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat for setting up a semiconductor manufacturing plant, jointly with their partner Foxconn. “By the end of this month, we will be able to pin down which State we are going to set up the plant in,” said Agarwal, adding that consulting firm BCG is aiding the group in the process.

The overall investment in setting up the semicon plant is close to $20 billion. “We should be the leader in supplying, not only to our country but also to other countries. It is not about setting up one unit but creating an ecosystem,” he said, adding that the initial investment is expected to be about $8-10 billion dollars.

The new plant is expected to cut imports worth about $30 billion of semiconductors and display glass. “India imports semiconductors and display glass worth about $16 billion each. So, with the production of both the products, we could (potentially) reduce $30 billion of imports.”

Alleging that some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are working to setback India’s development agenda, Agrawal said, “Foreign NGOs like Greenpeace or Amnesty use the judiciary, politics and media in a democratic country to push back the development agenda. They want India to just import and consume, not produce and export. They want India to be dependent.”

Focus on mining

He further added that along with advanced technology, the country needs a more liberalised mining policy to explore available minerals below the ground. “Whatever a country generates, 70 per cent goes for input — be it oil and gas, gold, copper, or minerals below the ground. We must address below the ground (mining policies) as priority.”

The Group, Agarwal said, generated close to $30-billion revenue across all its businesses in FY22 and expects to reach $50 billion in two years with additional investments.

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