Former Joint Director of CBI, and retired IPS Officer, VV Lakshmi Narayana filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Andhra Pradesh High Court at Amaravati, on Tuesday. The PIL was lodged challenging the Central Government’s privatisation move of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Vizag Steel Plant.
Referring to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs’ (CCEA) decision, the former CBI JD reportedly claimed that the act was unconstitutional and a violation of Articles 12, 14, 19, 21, 300-A, and 226 of the Constitution of India. Mr Lakshmi Narayana mentioned in the petition that five lakh people are dependent (directly and indirectly) on the Vizag Steel Plant, including 17,000 permanent employees and 16,000 contract workers. He added in the PIL that the employees, and people of Andhra Pradesh, are unhappy with the privatisation of the Vizag Steel Plant.
Suggesting an alternative to revive the plant, the retired IPS officer requested the High Court to call for the records pertaining to the feasibilities, and proposals, for allotting the captive iron ore mines to the RINL. He further noted that this move will lead to a 50 percent cost-cutting for the RINL. It may be recalled that, earlier in March, Mr Narayana and the former CMD of RINL, Y Siva Sagar Rao, wrote a joint letter to India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to direct the Union Finance Ministry, and the Steel Ministry, to take alternative measures for the RINL’s revival.
With the Central Government confirming the 100 percent disinvestment in Vizag Steel Plant, the Joint Action Committee of all trade unions and employees, on the other hand, is chalking out plans to intensify the agitation against the move. On Tuesday, it was announced that the protestors will partake in a relay hunger strike, here in the city, from 2 April, 2021. The JAC will further conduct the ‘Save Steel Plant’walkathon, on 4 April, 2021. The committee is also planning to organise a public meeting, involving people from all walks of life, on 18 April, 2021, near the YMCA Visakhapatnam.