Protests against the privatisation of the Vizag Steel Plant (VSP) have gained momentum in the city. Taking the movement forward, the Vizag Steel Plant Parirakshana Committee called for a statewide rasta roko, expressing solidarity with the agitation.
In wake of the call, hundreds of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant employees and supporters joined the agitation on Friday morning. The rasta roko, which was began at 11 AM, will conclude at 1 PM. Holding black flags, the protesters raised slogans of “Save Steel Plant” and “Visakha Ukku, Andhrula Hakku” and staged a road blockade on the National Highway, at the VSP gate in Kurmannapalem.
The protest found support from several political parties in the state. Speaking with a media person, a TDP member, who was seen taking part in the protest today, said, “We strongly oppose the decision to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. If required, our party leaders are ready to submit resignations to save the plant.” It may be recalled that the YSRCP organised a 25-km long march – ‘Steel Plant Parirakshana Porata Yatra’ on 20 February.
On the other hand, despite the strong opposition from the employees and the public in Vizag, the Central Government has set up a committee to design the modalities for privatisation of the VSPand submit a report. The team comprises officials from the Ministry of Finance and Industries and two representatives from the Vizag Steel Plant. The latter is expected to offer technical assistance on the disinvestment to the committee.
On 23 February, the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet decided to pass a resolution against the privatisation of the Vizag Steel Plant (VSP). The resolution will reportedly be introduced in the budget session of the Assembly after the municipal elections.