VIJAYAWADA: Even as political parties and trade unions in the state are protesting against the Centre’s decision to privatise Vizag Steel, industry leaders have expressed a mixed response to the last week’s development.
Though a section opined that the move is certainly in the interest of the steel plant, and that further delay in its privatisation will only lead to more financial losses, others felt that the Centre should honour the public sentiment and desist from going ahead.
The investors in favour of the disinvestment of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), a PSU that runs the plant, said the decision was reached at as the government realised that it doesn’t have enough liquidity left for further investment.
D Ramakrishna, president of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-AP chapter, said: “The disinvestment should not be seen in a negative light when there is no liquidity. If we go on taking loans to invest, interests will become a burden over time, and hamper growth and may result in further losses.”
Stating that he also took part in the agitation for VSP, Ramakrishna said the state and the Centre will continue to get taxes as usual, and the employees’ interests will be safeguarded. “Privatising the steel plant doesn’t mean that it will be relocated. Only the management will change.”
He observed that the delay in the divestment of BSNL is causing losses both to the Centre and the company. “Had the Centre taken a timely decision on BSNL it would have been in a better place. The delay is only helping private operators gain at the cost of BSNL.”
Meanwhile, those opposing the decision said the Centre could have explored options such as monetisation of assets as the steel plant is located in the heart of the port city, and has thousands of acres of land. AP Chamber of Commerce general secretary Potluri Bhaskara Rao appealed to the Centre to reexamine its decision, considering the sentiments of people of AP.