Andhra Pradesh

VUPPC take up 25-hour hunger strike to mark 250 days of agitation

Visakhapatnam Steel Plant workers, trade union representatives and others at the launch of the 25-hour fast by 250 employees, to mark the 250th day of the agitation against privatisation of VSP, at Kurmannapalem, in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R Deepak

Hundreds of workers of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), representatives of trade unions and people’s organisations gathered at Kurmannapalem and expressed their firm resolve to prevent privatisation of VSP as the relay hunger strikes, being organised by the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, continued for the 250th day on Tuesday. To mark the occasion, 250 members sat on a 25-hour hunger strike that began at around 8 a.m. at the ‘sibiram’ (camp) at Kurmannapalem on Tuesday.

K.K. Rao, a former Director (Operations) of VSP, who visited the protest camp, recalled that he had also participated in the agitation for establishment of the steel plant in Visakhapatnam in 1966. He expressed shock that such a plant was being privatised. Commending the steadfast commitment of the workers to save VSP, he expressed optimism that they would succeed ultimately. He also promised to do whatever he could to save the steel plant.

Also read: VSP privatisation well-considered: Centre

GSN Raju, Chancellor of Centurion University, recalled that the slogan “Visakha Ukku – Andhrula Hakku” had struck a chord in the hearts of people all over Andhra Pradesh, when the agitation was at its peak. The only shore-based steel plant in the country, VSP could compete with other steel plants within a short time, if captive mines were allocated to it by the government. He was optimistic that the present strike to save VSP would be successful.

CPI-M State secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao recalled the firing, which had occurred near the Old Head Post Office area, on Nov 1, 1966 during the agitation demanding setting up of the steel plant in Visakhapatnam. A huge rally, with the involvement of students and youngsters, would be taken out from Mrs. AVN College to the Old Head Post Office junction to mark the 55th anniversary of the incident, on Nov 1.

Also read: Privatisation of VSP | Lots of sacrifices have led to its establishment, but politicians destroy it for vested interests: Former DSNLU V-C

The agitation would be intensified by involving all panchayats, municipalities and corporations in the State and making them adopt resolutions against the decision of the Centre on strategic sale of VSP. Mr. Narasinga Rao opined that if the BJP government was allowed to have its way, the day was not far off when other PSUs would be handed over to corporate groups as part of privatisation. He called for united struggles by workers and farmers to oppose the policies of the Centre.

CPI State assistant secretary JV Satyanarayana Murthy, Porata Committee chairmen Adinarayana and Mantri Rajasekhar and CPI-M Corporator B. Ganga Rao spoke.

Visakhapatnam MP MVV Satyanarayana, Gajuwaka MLA Tippala Nagireddy, Payakaraopeta MLA Golla Babu Rao, Jana Sena Party (JSP) leader Kona Tata Rao, former TDP Minister Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy, former MLAs Palla Srinivasa and Chintalapudi Venkataramaiah, visited the camp.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 2:36:19 PM |

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