Employees working for Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant at Bhadravathi intensified their protest opposing the closure of the unit on Monday, January 30. They raised slogans against BJP leaders, who were in town to attend the party’s district executive committee meeting on the day.
As the protesters were taking out a procession to lay seize to Basaveshwara Bhavan, where the BJP meeting was going on, the police stopped them by placing barricades. The employees raised slogans targeting former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and his son B.Y. Raghavendra, Lok Sabha member of Shivamogga.
They alleged that the elected representatives failed to put pressure on the Centre to revive the unit. The recent decision of Steel Authority of India Limited to close the Bhadravathi unit would leave more than 1,300 workers on the contract basis, jobless.
The workers urged BJP leaders to hold a meeting with the workers and listen to them. However, BJP leaders said they would come back in a couple of days.
Mr. Raghavendra, MP, told the protesters that he would hold a meeting with the senior executive officers of the plant in a couple of days on the issue. He assured them that he would stand by their demand for the revival of the unit.
The SAIL has decided to close the unit citing losses. There are 211 permanent employees and more than 1,300 contract employees are working in the unit.