Stepping up the ante against the Central Government’s decision to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Samithi (Committee for Protection of VSP), took up a novel programme. It is named ‘Vanta – Vaarpu’ and this programme involved the VSP workers cooking on the roads in protest.
VSP workers, union members and leaders took to the streets and erected makeshift kitchens at several places as part of the ‘Vanta Vaarpu’ programme in Vizag. People assembled at places like Ukku Nagaram (Sri City), Kurmannapalem Junction, Pedagantyada and Telugu Talli statue, and took up cooking as part of the agitation.
Speaking on the occasion, Committee Convenor, J Ayodhya Ramu said “The Centre has taken a wise decision to repeal the controversial farm laws under pressure from the farmers who have been agitating for the last one year. On the same lines, the Modi government should withdraw the proposal to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant”.
It could be noted that on Thursday, the Committee also wrote a letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, requesting him to take up the issue with the Centre once again and press upon the Government to withdraw the privatisation move. In the letter, the Committee said, “We are thankful to the government for adopting a resolution in the state assembly in the past, requesting the Centre to drop the proposal for the 100 per cent strategic disinvestment in the steel plant in the form of privatisation. We are also thankful to you for writing twice to the Prime Minister in this regard. It is time to bring pressure on the Centre again to withdraw its privatisation plan”. Overall, the steel plant workers have been agitating for the last 288 days.
In what could be good news for the ailing Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, and its workers, the steel plant has been upgraded from the 3 star to the prestigious four-star Export House status. Notwithstanding the Covid pandemic challenges, RINL exported more than US $ 500 million, consecutively during the Financial year 21 – 22.