VISAKHAPATNAM: Visakhapatnam steel plant on Thursday witnessed yet another high-intensity agitation with Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, which has been spearheading the stir against 100 percent strategic disinvestment of the plant, resorting to blockade of all roads leading to seven gates and admin building of the steel plant.
The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management’s (DIPAM) decision to hold a meeting with shortlisted bidders for transaction and legal advisors was the trigger. Porata committee leaders and activists, including contract workers and land oustees, gathered at all gates, including main gate, BC gate, railway gate, new gate and contract workers gate and did not allow employees go into the plant from 8 am.
The entire steel plant was reverberated with the slogans raised by workers and leaders against privatisation and the Modi government. A large number of police and CISF personnel were deployed to ensure that there were no untoward incidents during the agitation.Speaking at the dharna at the main gate, porata committee convener and president of the steel plant recognised union J Ayodhya Ram said it was cruel on the part of the Centre to privatise the steel plant.
Porata committee chairmen Ch Narasinga Rao, D Adinarayana and Mantri Rajasekhar and leaders of TNTUC, YSRTUC, BMS and contract workers union also addressed the gathering. They criticised BJP leaders for stubbornly supporting the sale of state-owned steel plants and trying to hand them over to the private sector in the name of monetisation. Meanwhile, steel plant sources said the unions blocked the gates for three hours from 8 am to 11 am. It did not impact production, they said.