VISAKHAPATNAM: Senior Congress leader from Telangana State V Hanumantha Rao on Friday called upon people to step up the agitation against the Centre's decision to sell off national assets including Vizag Steel Plant.
Speaking at the relay hunger strike, which was launched by all-party trade unions and Praja Sanghala JAC at Gandhi Statue near GVMC office in protest against Centre's decision to privatise Vizag Steel Plant (VSP), Rao said the steel plant was providing direct and indirect employment to 40,000 people and 4 lakh people are depending on it.
"How can Narendra Modi, who came to power with a lot of false promises, privatise the steel plant, which was achieved due to the sacrifices of people," he asked. He said the Modi government failed to fulfil the promises of bringing back black money stashed abroad, depositing Rs 15 lakh in every one’s account and creation of two crore jobs every year.
The Congress leader said VSP achieved a turnover of Rs 18,000 crore in the current fiscal, without even having its own mines. "We are ready for sacrifices once again to save the steel plant," he said.
JAC vice-chairman Padala Ramana said steel plant employees have been agitating for the last 50 days. CITU State president Ch. Narasinga Rao said the agitation would not be stopped till the Modi government withdrew its policy of privatisation of VSP and other PSUs. The VSP achieved a net profit of Rs 740 crore in the last three months.
The BJP government's move to privatise the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and the Salem, Bhadravathi and Durgapur Steel Plants were stopped through joint agitations, he pointed out. He said Visakhapatnam was the place where revolutionary leader Alluri Seetharama Raju had fought valiantly against the British.
Former MP GV Harsha Kumar demanded withdrawal of the proposal to privatise VSP. JAC chairman M Jaggu Naidu, CITU State general secretary V Umamaheswara Rao, AITUC national vice president D Adinarayana, Parirakshana Porata Committee chairman Mantri Rajasekhar, YSRTU State general secretary Y Mastanappa, TNTUC State general secretary Boddu Pydiraju, HMS leaders DK Sarma, CFITU leader Ganesh Panda, IFTU State vice president M Venkateswarlu were present.
Later, both Hanumantha Rao and Harsha Kumar visited the relay hunger strike camp at Kurmannapalem. Addressing the agitating employees, Rao said Modi has become a toy in the hands of the corporates. "The PSUs laid the foundation for the development of the country, but now their very existence is under threat. Everyone should join the struggle to save the steel plant," Rao said.
Harsha Kumar said the PSUs were a hallmark of the development and people should revolt against their privatisation.