VISAKHAPATNAM: A day after Union minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Anant Geete announced the government plan to shut down five public sector units including Hindustan Shipyard Limited, political parties, trade unions and social activists came forward in a show of unity to save the public sector entity, which has been the frontispiece of the Port City for more than seven decades.
All the leading trade unions of various PSUs have decided to unite and launch a combined agitation to save the shipyard. Meanwhile, the HSL management has denied reports of shutting down of the HSL.
The CPM announced that it would launch an agitation in association with all the TUs to protect the HSL. The Congress also aired it’s strong objection to the closing down of the shipyard. It demanded status quo in view of the national security. “The Indian Navy needs HSL in future,” opined a large number of HSL employees and Navy officials, who aired their concern over the announcement. The associations, intellectuals and naval scientists pointed out that the government should consider the strategic importance of the shipyard, which is the only one along the East Coast.
The Congress leaders reminded that the UPA regime had saved two major PSUs of Vizag in the interest of the thousands of employees and considering national security. The BHPV was merged with BHEL, while the HSL was brought under the Defence Ministry.
Rajya Sabba member T Subbarami Reddy raised his concern over the decision during the zero hour in the Upper House Wednesday. He said that the first ISO-9001 ship building company of the country should be protected. He urged the government to focus on the HSL by reviving the unit and infusing working capital for the welfare of the thousands of employees.
The HSL had built inshore patrol vessels for Indian Coast Guard last year. It also built MV Good Day bulk carrier and 50-tonne tugs for the Navy. As many as 20 vessels of different types belonging to Navy, the ONGC and Visakhapatnam Port Trust were repaired. However, due to the lean order book and fall in turnover, HSL incurred a loss of `46 cr last year,” Reddy said.
CPM State leader Ch Narasinga Rao said that the party would fight against the decision. The CPM would launch a massive agitation with active support from all trade unions, he said.
Senior Congress leader Dronamraju Srinivasa Rao said that the Congress would not keep mum on the issue. He pointed out that the UPA government had merged the HSL with the Defence ministry and the BHPV in BHEL considering their importance in national security.
Responding to the reports, HSL CMD NK Mishra said that the media reports on the HSL were baseless and malicious in intent to destabilise the yard and knock her out of competition.
“The fact is that the core committee for shortlisting of the yards for construction of project 75 (I) has not yet submitted its report to the MoD. The core committee asked the HSL for more inputs . The report regarding closure of the yard is also not correct. The MoD is not aware of any such report and rather it has said that the revival of the yard is under positive consideration,” Mishra said.