VISAKHAPATNAM: Enthusiasm of Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, which has been spearheading agitation against privatisation of RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, was on a high as its two-day maha dharna in Delhi on Monday and Tuesday evoked overwhelming response from state and national leaders of various parties, including CPM, CPI, LJD, YSRC, TDP, Congress and left party affiliated wings.
The maha dharna was held on the second day on Tuesday on the premises of Andhra Bhavan and slogans of ‘Save Vizag steel’ and ‘Visakha ukku Adhrula Hakku, rented the air. Steel workers raised slogans against the Centre. Porata committee leaders demanded withdrawal of its privatisation plan.
YSRC MPs led by their parliamentary party leader V Vijayasai Reddy participated in the dharna on day 2 also. Speaking on the occasion, Vijaya Sai said the privatisation can be stalled only through a joint agitation. Stating that the YSRC will continue to support the agitation, he said steel workers should continue their agitation at least for one more year so that no government will take a decision in an election year against wishes of the people.
He said they should also explore legal options to get stay on the privatisation proposal which has several flaws. He said Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was keen on protecting the interests of employees and workers. Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao said all 22 YSRC MPs and three TDP MPs should resign so as to catch attention at the national level and then only the Modi government will stop privatisation.
TDP MPs Kesineni Nani and Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu and party leaders also attended the dharna. Nani said if the plant is privatised, 32,000 employees and their families will face hardship. Ramamohan Naidu said steel plant is not an issue of employees or Visakhapatnam city or north Andhra. But it was an issue of the entire state as the plant was pride of Telugus and achieved by concerted agitation by great leaders like Tenneti Viswanadham, Armitha Rao, Gowthu Latchanna, Sundarayya and others.
“The TDP is totally against VSP privatisation and we will not let the government privatise the steel plant. After bifurcation, the state was getting a raw deal as promises on special status, railway division and Polavaram were not fulfilled. The Centre cannot take similar steps with regard to PSUs in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal,” he said.
He said it was high time that the Chief Minister lead the agitation and take an all-party delegation to the Prime Minister, President and Vice-President to stall the privatisation.TDP leader Sribharat said it was unfair to privatise the Visakhapatnam ag steel plant without giving a chance to prove its strength.
Parties extend support
Various parties, including CPM, CPI, LJD, YSRC, TDP, Congress and left party affiliated wings extended support to VSP agitation. CPM general secretary Yechuri Sitaram and CPI state president K Ramakrishna attended the dharna.