VISAKHAPATNAM: ‘Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku’, the slogan of agitation against the privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) once again reverberated in Delhi on Monday. Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee organising ‘Maha Dharna’ at Jantar Mantar opposing the Centre’s proposal to go for 100 per cent strategic sale of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of VSP. Braving rain that lashed Delhi, hundreds of workers of the steel plant sat on a dharna holding placards demanding withdrawal of the Centre’s decision to privatise the VSP.
Leaders of various political parties and trade unions participated in the dharna extending their support to the agitation of Porata Committee against privatisation of the steel plant. The leaders of YSRC, TDP and Left parties and national trade unions unequivocally opposed the steel plant privatisation and demanded that the VSP loans be converted as equity, besides allocating captive iron ore mines to the steel plant to make it a profitable PSU. Addressing the dharna, YSRC MP V Vijayasai Reddy asserted that they would not allow privatisation of the steel plant under any circumstances.
“The VSP is one of the largest PSUs in the country and it was set up following sacrifices of 32 people during the agitation for the steel plant,’’ he said. He said that as soon as the State government got wind of the proposal of the Centre to privatise the VSP, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to roll back the decision and also suggested measures to revive the steel plant. “Through a joint agitation only we can save the plant. Nearly 1 lakh people are dependent on the plant and it came to the rescue of people during the Covid- 19 pandemic by supplying liquid oxygen,’’ he said, adding that the plant was earning `200 crore profit a month now. “It is not correct to privatise the plant if it suffered losses for a few years,” he said.
YSRC MPs PV Midhun Reddy, BV Satyavathi, MVV Satyanarayana, Magunta Srinivasula Reddy, Gorantla Madhav, Margani Sri Bharat, Bellana Chandrasekhar, Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose addressed the dharna and said they wo u l d s t a l l t h e VSP privatisation. TDP MPs Galla Jayadev and Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar said the party would fight for the cause of steel plant both inside and outside Parliament. “The Centre should withdraw its proposal in the larger interests of steel plant workers,’’ they said. National trade union and Left party leaders Binoy Viswam, Elamaram Kareem, Amarjit Kaur, Tapan Sen and others spoke at the dharna. They attacked the Modi government for going ahead with its privatisation plan. Asserting that they would continue the agitation till the Centre withdraws its decision, Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee chairman D Adinarayana said the agitation would be intensified.
No rethinking on privatisation: MoS
Even as the agitation against privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) is reaching its peak, the Centre once again reiterated that there was no rethinking on the matter. Minister of State for Finance Bhagavat Kishan Rao Karad, in a written reply to Sajda Sultan Ahmed of All India Trinamool Congress and two others in the Lok Sabha, said the privatisation process of the Steel Plant had already started