The protests against the privatisation of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited – Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (RINL – VSP) have been going on for more than 150 days. Of late, these agitations have been intensified as the Centre has begun the privatisation process. Recently, the Finance Ministry had expedited the privatisation proposal and invited tenders for transaction advisors to execute strategic privatisation of VSP. But the opposition to the Centre’s privatisation move has been stiff, with agitation from the workers at the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant as well as the public. Another Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against the privatisation of VSP.
Back in March 2021, a PIL had been filed by the former CBI joint director VV Lakshmi Narayana which brought the Andhra Pradesh High Court into the action. Now, the new PIL has been filed by Mr D Suvarna Raju, a former alumnus of Andhra University. This litigation has been filed on the behalf of the Society for Protection of Scholarship Holders. AP High Court Chief Justice, Arup Kumar Goswami, and Justice Naine Jayasuriya heard the PIL on Thursday. Accordingly, the High Court has issued notices to the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Steel and Minerals, the Chairman of RINL, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Visakhapatnam District Collector V Vinay Chand, IAS.
On Saturday, the agitation against the privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant reached new heights, as many steel plant employees and other protestors took to the streets of Vizag and organised a 30km bike rally as part of the protest. The protestors were vocal about the Centre’s need to reevaluate its decision and stop the privatisation of VSP.
On the other hand, Somu Veerraju, the State President of BJP, categorically stated to the media on Sunday that the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant will not be privatised.
While the fate of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant continues to hang in the balance, the protests against its privatisation are likely to heat up further if a resolution is not reached in the coming days.