VISAKHAPATNAM: The 170-day Visakha Ukku agitation against privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) is all set to reach the national capital Delhi with the two-day Maha Dharna of employees’ union starting at Jantar Mantar Monday.
The Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, which has been spearheading the agitation against privatisation of RINL, the corporate entity of VSP, has decided to intensify its stir with the dharna. Over 1,000 steel plant workers left for Delhi by different trains on Friday. All the workers will gather at Jantar Mantar at 10 am to stage Maha Dharna.
The union leaders have already met leaders of various national and regional political parties, which are not part of the NDA, to garner support for their stir against privatisation. Leaders of several parties have promised to join the dharna against the Centre’s move.
Ukku Porata Committee chairman Ch Narasinga Rao said the two-day dharna in Delhi will highlight their resolve to resist privatisation of the steel plant. “It will be remembered for long in history. Leaders of almost all opposition parties will be joining the protest in Delhi,’’ he said.
Narasinga Rao said despite stiff opposition from people and workers, the Centre has filed a counter affidavit in the High Court reaffirming its stand for 100 per cent strategic sale of RINL.Vizag Mayor and corporators of the GVMC will observe a day’s fast on Monday to express their solidarity with the workers’ dharna in Delhi.
A rally was taken out by Visakha all party workers and praja sanghala JAC in the city on Sunday as part of the stir against VSP privatisation. Addressing the rally, AITUC State president R Ravindranadh and JAC chairman M Jaggu Naidu said the Narendra Modi government should be taught a lesson for trying to sell the steel plant, which is the pride of people of Andhra.
The steel plant was set up after farmers of 64 villages gave 22,000 acres of land for it and 32 people sacrificed their lives during the famous ‘Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku’ agitation in the late 1960s. People of AP are not ready to accept the proposal to sell a golden goose like the VSP, they said.
Protest at Jantar Mantar, AP Bhavan
Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee has got permission to hold Maha Dharna at Jantar Mantar only on Monday. Steel plant workers will stage a protest at AP Bhavan on Tuesday against privatisation