Protests by steel plant staff greet Sitharaman in Vizag

Tension prevailed here on Friday evening as the employees of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant tried to put up a blockade at the airport after they were prevented from meeting Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on her arrival to the city for a three-day visit to the northern Andhra Pradesh region.

The employees have been protesting for the last few months over the Union government’s plan to privatise the steel plant.

After coming to know of Sitharaman’s visit to the city, the steel plant employees made their way to the airport in large numbers.

They planned to submit memorandums to the Finance Minister, but were prevented from reaching there by the police, who had cordoned off the area anticipating trouble.

The police also arrested around 150 persons after the steel plant employees tried to block the airport entry, raising slogans against the Union minister.

There have been widespread protests in Andhra Pradesh over the Union government’s plan to privatise the steel plant.

Sitharaman later visited the Visakhpatnam Port Trust, where its Chairman K. Ramamohana Rao briefed her on the port activities.

On Saturday, she is scheduled to participate in the National Handlooms Day celebrations in Srikakulam district.