Andhra Pradesh

Visakhapatnam district braces for a complete bandh

The Statewide bandh called in protest against the proposed strategic sale of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) is expected to be total and complete in the district on Friday.

The bandh has been called by the Left parties and Steel Plant Parirakshana Porata Committee, and is being supported by all parties including the ruling YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Since even the ruling party YSRCP is joining the bandh, it is expected to be complete and peaceful, said a senior officer from the district administration.

Speaking to The Hindu, CPI(M) State Secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao said that all production units, including the VSP, will be operating with just skeletal staff, as most of the employees, including officers and executives of major public sector units, have applied for mass leave in support of the bandh.

As the YSRCP is also supporting the bandh, there will be no preventive arrests and public transport, including APSRTC, will stay off the road, said Mr. Narasinga Rao.

Deputy Chief Traffic Manager of Visakhapatnam (Rural) K. Venkat Rao told The Hindu that all buses will stay off the road till 1 p.m. in support of the bandh, as per the orders issued by the State Government.

Vaman Murthy of Autorickshaw Union said that except for emergencies, auto-rickshaws will not ply on the road till evening. “Privatisation of VSP is a major issue. There is a lot of emotion and sentiment attached to it across the State and people from all sections are supporting it,” he said.

According to J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, State joint secretary of the CPI, since APNGO is also supporting the bandh, the district administration also will be working with a truncated staff.

Ch. Narasinga Rao said that this could be one of the biggest Statewide bandhs since the 1975 Emergency.

Police to remain vigilant

Speaking to The Hindu, Commissioner of Police Manish Kumar Sinha said that since all political parties are joining the bandh, it is expected to be peaceful. “But we shall remain vigilant and see that there are no untoward incidents. If people join the bandh voluntarily, there is no issue, but if force is used anywhere, we shall intervene,” he said.

Demands

Reiterating their demands, members of the Steel Plant Parirakshana Porata Committee said that the privatisation of the plant has to be stopped and captive mines allotted to it at the earliest.

“We also demand that the debt that the plant has incurred to support its expansion plans be converted to equity,” said Mr. Narasinga Rao, who is also a member of the committee.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 11:18:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/visakhapatnam-district-braces-for-a-complete-bandh/article33992742.ece

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