Mayor, corporators stage protest against privatisation of steel plant

Mayor Golagani Hari Venkata Kumari and corporators of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) staged a dharna near the Gandhi statue, opposite the GVMC, on Monday in protest against the decision of the Union government to privatise the Visakhaptnam Steel Plant (VSP).

The corporators, setting aside their party affiliations, participated in the protest and raised slogans against the proposal and seeking allotment of captive mines to the plant. The protest was meant to express solidarity with the steel workers and trade unions leaders, who are staging a dharna in Delhi.

The Mayor drew an analogy between the VSP and a large joint family. The VSP was like the head of Visakhapatnam city and when the head was lost, the whole family would suffer, she said. The plant apart from providing employment to over 40,000 persons, directly and indirectly, was responsible for the growth and development of the city, she added.

When there was a short supply of medical oxygen in Maharashtra and other parts of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, the VSP rose to the occasion and supplied Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), the Mayor said. She appealed to the Centre to reconsider the decision. The State government had passed a resolution in the Assembly against the decision and sent the resolution to the Centre. Rajya Sabha Member V. Vijaya Sai Reddy undertook a padayatra against the decision, she said.

Tourism Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao, CPI State secretary K. Ramakrishna and New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation(NREDCAP) Chairman K.K. Raju expressed their solidarity.

The Tourism Minister said that the steel workers have been on a relay hunger strike for the past 170 days. The State Assembly and the GVMC council have passed resolutions against privatisation of VSP and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) was supporting the agitation privatisation both within the House and outside, he said. He said it was wrong to say that the plant would be sold as the Centre has taken a decision. He said that the State government was extending solidarity with the strike by steel workers in Delhi.

Mr. Ramakrishna alleged that the Union government was creating problems for the steel workers in Delhi by getting the rooms, which were booked at hotels, cancelled. He said that he would leave for Delhi later in the day and participate in the protest on Tuesday.

CPI(M) city secretary and corporator B. Ganga Rao said that all political parties, except the BJP, were supporting the agitation for continuation of the VSP in the public sector. The agitation would be taken to the panchayat-level, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 4:25:25 PM |

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