CPI(M) Polit Bureau member B.V. Raghavulu has said that only a united stir by the people and all political parties can save the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), which was achieved after relentless struggles. The agitation has to be intensified now as bidding for the VSP has not yet been done, he said.
The history of VSP is synonymous with that of Andhra Pradesh, which was formed in 1956. Though the agitation for the VSP was held in 1966, the demand for its establishment in Visakhapatnam was there much earlier, Mr. Raghavulu told a media conference here on Sunday.
Ridiculing the reason being given by the Centre for privatisation of the VSP, he alleged that the Union government wants to sell ‘ukku’ (steel plant) for ‘tukku’ (scrap) in the name of losses as it wants to hand over VSP land (22,000 acres) to its cronies. The VSP could make profits in a short time, once the pandemic situation improved and there was a little help from the government, Mr. Raghavulu said.
He said the Centre was determined to privatise all the 300 PSUs in the country, except 12 in sectors like aerospace, communication and atomic energy. Calling upon the people of Visakhapatnam and the State to wage a united struggle on the lines of the farmers’ agitation in Delhi, he recalled how the BJP government has deceived the people of the State during the recent Budget, apart from failing to implement the assurances given to the State in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Mr. Raghavulu recalled the contribution of the VSP to the growth of Visakhapatnam city and north Andhra region. The BJP government, which had failed to give special package to the backward districts of north Andhra, was now preparing to privatise VSP, he alleged. The Centre had also failed to allocate funds for the Visakhapatnam-headquartered new railway zone, he said.
Describing the common demand of all political parties, on continuation of VSP, as a PSU as a positive development, Mr. Raghavulu said that if any political party or trade union took a different stand on the issue, they would not be forgiven by the people.
Referring to the reported statements of Jana Sena Party (JSP) president Pawan Kalyan that it was for the Centre to take a decision on the VSP, he said it was unfortunate that those who spoke of Telugu pride were now ‘toeing the BJP line’. He, however, appealed to the JSP chief to join the agitation against privatisation of VSP, as it was a historic necessity.
Party State secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao and city secretariat member R.K.S.V. Kumar were present.
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