TRS backs protest against Vizag Steel privatisation

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Wednesday extended its support to the ongoing protests against the Centre’s move to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Industry Minister and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao said if necessary he would go to Visakhapatnam to participate in the protest opposing privatisation.

The TRS leader slammed the Narendra Modi government for its policies and remarked that it may even privatise the state governments.

Addressing a meeting in connection with TRS campaign for March 14 election to two graduates’ constituencies of Telangana Legislative Council, Rama Rao said the Centre had promised to set up a steel factory at Bayyaram in Telangana through Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and provide employment to thousands of people.

“The same central government is now trying to go for 100 per cent sale of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant which was achieved through a people’s movement. Thousands of workers have come on to the roads to protest against the Centre’s decision,” he said.

KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, assured the employees of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant that TRS will stand by them.

He said if necessary he would go to Visakhapatnam after taking permission from Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The TRS leader said Telangana can’t afford to ignore the protest against privatisation of VSP.

“If we say that why should we bother about protest in Visakhapatnam, it may happen to us tomorrow. Today they (Centre) are selling away Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, tomorrow they may sell BHEL and day after tomorrow Singareni. Later, they may even think of privatizing state governments. They can do anything,” he said.

KTR said TRS would back the protest against privatisation of VSP, adding that if there is an attempt to private public sector undertakings in Telangana, they should also join hands with the state.

KTR’s announcement came at a time when VSP employees have intensified their protest to oppose the Centre’s move. All non-BJP parties in Andhra Pradesh are also opposing privatisation.

The TRS leader launched a scathing attack on BJP government at the Centre for steep hike in prices of diesel, petrol and cooking gas.

He recalled that in 2014 Narendra Modi had blamed ‘inefficiency’ of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for high prices of fuel and promised to bring down the prices.

KTR said the fuel prices have doubled since BJP came to power.

“The price of a cooking gas cylinder was Rs 414 in 2014 but today the price has crossed Rs 900,” he said.

The TRS working president also recalled that Narendra Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in every bank account.

“Instead, we got 15 lakh lies on social media,” he said while targeting BJP for its false propaganda.