Call for Vizag bandh on March 28 to protest privatisation of steel plant

With the Centre expediting the process for privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, the committee spearheading the movement against privatisation has given a call for Visakhapatnam city bandh on March 28.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the struggle committee against privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant comprising various trade unions on Thursday, which also marked completion of 400 days of relay fasts demanding protection of the steel plant.

The committee leaders said their agitation would continue till the Centre takes back its decision.

They appealed to the public and political parties to extend support to the bandh. The committee also plans to collect signatures of 100 MPs in favour of the steel plant.

The development came close on the heels of Centre inviting bids from firms for valuing the assets of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), also called Visakhapatnam Steel Plant or Vizag Steel.

The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) on January 27 gave “in principle” approval for 100 per cent disinvestment of government stake in RINL along with RINL’s stake in its subsidiaries/joint ventures.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which manages the government’s equity in public sector companies, on March 11 floated the request for proposal (RFP) for appointing an asset valuer registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) to carry out the valuation of the company’s assets and assist the Centre in the process of strategic disinvestment of RINL.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh’s opposition parties on Thursday organised a huge rally protesting the decision to privatise Krishnapatnam thermal power plant also known as Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Station (SDSTPS).

Leaders and workers of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Left parties and people’s organisations participated in the rally. They threatened to intensify the protest if the state government failed to withdraw the move to privatise the plant.

They termed as “suicidal” the government’s move to handover the plant to a private player on a 25-year lease.

CPI national Secretary K. Narayana, who led the rally, alleged that the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government in the state was implementing the agenda of BJP. He said the move would lead to an increase in electricity tariff in the state.

Narayana said the farmers and other weaker sections of the society would no longer get subsidised power due to privatisation of SDSTPS.

TDP politburo member S. Chandramohan Reddy demanded that the state government immediately take back its decision keeping in view the public interest.

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