To up the ante against the Central Government’s decision to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), former Vice-Chancellor of Nagarjuna University, V Bala Mohan, called for a mass movement involving the public at large. Suggesting a ‘1 crore signature campaign’ in Vizag against VSP privatisation, Mr Mohan said that it was the Government’s responsibility to ensure growth and sustainability of the Public Sector Units (PSU).
The ‘1 crore signature campaign’, being organised by people’s organisations and trade unions, was launched by Prof. Bala Mohan at the Gandhi statue on Thursday. He added, “The PSUs have stood as the foundation for industrial development in the country and they should continue to remain in the public sector in order to protect the economy”.
Speaking about the statistics, profits, and dividends, of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, the former VC informed that the Central Government had invested Rs. 5,000 crore and in return the PSU had in the form of dividends contributed Rs. 44,000 crore. Stating that the common people were being misled, he called upon all sections of the people to support the ‘1 crore signature campaign’ in Vizag.
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Andhra Pradesh state President, Ch. Narasinga Rao, Joint Action Committee (JAC) Chairman, M Jaggu Naidu, Vizag Steel Plant (VSP) workers, and leaders from various trade unions, were present at the ‘1 crore signature campaign’ launch event in Vizag. Speaking on the occasion, the CITU President alleged that the Central Government was secretly sending members of various committees to value the assets of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
It could be noted that in the month of October, 2021, to mark the completion of the 250th day of the relay hunger strike, being organised by the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee (VUPPC), a 25-hour long fast had been undertaken by 250 Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) workers. The protest started at 8:00 am, at the steel plant arch in Kurmannapalem, Visakhapatnam.