Shivamogga Lok Sabha member B.Y. Raghavendra met Amarendu Prakash, chairman of the Steel Authority of India, in New Delhi on Tuesday and appealed to him to stop the closure process of Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant in Bhadravathi and instead revive it.
In a communication to the media, Mr. Raghavendra said he urged the SAIL chairman to take the measures necessary to revive the 100-year-old plant, started by Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar under the guidance of Sir M. Visvesvaraya.
The plant was a public-sector undertaking of the State Government. It was handed over to the government of India in 1989. Considering the recurring losses at the plant, the union cabinet cleared the strategic disinvestment of the plant, and an expression of interest was invited from bidders in 2019. Due to insufficient bidder interest, the process was terminated in October 2022. Later, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management initiated the closure of the plant, leaving the workers and their families in shock.
Mr.Raghavendra said that 280 permanent employees, 1,340 working on a contract basis, and around 10,000 families in Bhadravathi had been depending on the plant. Meanwhile, the State Government of Karnataka has sanctioned 150 acres of iron mine in Sandur taluk for captive usage of the plant.
He requested the SAIL chairman stop the closure process and instead modernise and upgrade the plant. If the plant were revived, it would contribute towards achieving Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The employees of the VISP have been staging protests demanding the revival of the plant. Ahead of the state assembly elections, the leaders of all political parties met the protesters and extended their support, assuring them that they would work towards reviving the plant.