According to media reports, several trade unions, people’s organisations and members of the public are opposing the proposal of the Indian government’s to privatise Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. The agitation opposing the decision taken by Union Cabinet a few days ago to go in for 100% disinvestment in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant seems to be boiling into a major controversy and all trade unions and others are gearing up for massive agitation.
The employees of VSP have been holding dharnas and protests for past three days and a major agitation on Friday is also being planned. The unions suspect that efforts are on to handover the plant to a major group. The employees are willing to contribute that amount without taking a bank loan to the Centre if it drops the proposal to go in for privatisation of the steel plant.
The Forum for Development of North Andhra has given a call to the people to protect the RINL-Visakhapatnam steel plant from privatisation. General Secretary Mr A Aja Sarma noted that the steel plant is a jewel in the crown of Telugu states and condemned the decision of the Centre which proposed a strategic sale of the plant. He said “The plant is supported by strong technical personnel and it remains the only shore based steel plant in the country with assets worth about INR 2.5 lakh crore. The government has no right to sell it.”
The Greater Visakha City Committee of the CPI (M) staged a protest at the Gandhi Statue near GVMC. Addressing the gathering, secretary Mr B Ganga Rao condemned the decision and demanded its immediate withdrawal, failing which he said the CPI (M) would launch a concerted struggle to oppose the privatisation proposal.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLC from Visakhapatnam Mr PVN Madhav met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman requesting her to consider dropping the proposal to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and look for alternate measures. Mr Madhav is learnt to have informed Ms Sitharaman that Visakhapatnam Steel Plant came into existence after a prolonged struggle and sacrifice of many people.
India’s Union Cabinet has approved privatisation of Vizag based state owned public sector Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, in which the government currently holds 100% stake. A government official said “While approving the strategic disinvestment of RINL a few days ago, the Cabinet delegated powers to the Alternative Mechanism headed by the Finance Minister to decide whether the subsidiaries of RINL will be part of the transaction, depending on the feedback from potential investors.”