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Sterlite Copper CEO Ramnath retires, Pankaj Kumar takes over

T E Narasaimhan/Chennai 15 Mar 19 | 12:29 PM

Vedanta Group's Sterlite Copper CEO P Ramnath has retired from the company after an eight-year stint amidst protests and closure of plant in Thoothukudi. He has passed on the mantle to Pankaj Kumar  who has been previously associated with Sterlite Copper. Kumar comes with over 29 years of experience.

The Tamil Nadu government had in May  2018 ordered the state pollution control board to seal and "permanently" close the mining group's copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns. 

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"I have now retired from the services of Sterlite Copper after a very personally satisfying tenure," said Ramnath, who will continue as Senior Advisor with the organisation.

The matter moved to various courts, including the Supreme Court and NGT, in the last one year. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to allow the reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi. Setting aside the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order dated December 15, 2018 which had allowed reopening of the Sterlite plant, the court said that the NGT does not hold any jurisdiction to do so.

The company said that it has been incurring losses of Rs 5 crore daily. Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal in July 2018 said that the company could face a loss of $100 million if the plant remained shut for a year.

In May,2018 at least 13 people were killed in police firing on hundreds who marched to the Tuticorin collectorate demanding closure of the Sterlite Copper plant over pollution fears, following which the state government ordered TNPCB to seal the unit and close the plant permanently, citing a provision of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

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