Protests against Vizag steel plant privatization begin in Delhi

Visakhapatnam: With the Centre virtually ruling out any relook at the decision to privatise the Vizag Steel Plant (VSP), opponents of the move now took their protests to the heart of the national capital.

On Monday, a large number of VSP employees, workers, and representatives of trade unions protested at the Jantar Mantar.

“We have been protesting since many days but the Central government has become obstinate… even filing affidavits in the court, hinting that it will not go back,” said a protester at Jantar Mantar.

He said thousands of people are dependent on the steel plant which the Centre is planning to sell.

Protesters vowed that they will not let the Centre sell the VSP and will take support from all sections of people.

Coming to Delhi from the Andhra Pradesh port city, Visakhapatnam Deputy Mayor Jiyyani Sridhar noted that nearly 30 people sacrificed their lives for achieving the steel plant.

He said the state’s ruling YSRCP is striving to save the steel plant.

“After today’s protest at Jantar Mantar, we will demonstrate in front of Andhra Bhavan on Tuesday. YSRCP will fight hard in support of all these people for the steel plant,” he said.

A representative from the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) said they want to safeguard all the public sector units.

“We want to safeguard all PSUs in national interest. We think by privatising all national assets, the government is trying to take regressive steps which will be harmful for the sovereign and self-reliant economy of our country,” she said.

The AITUC representative demanded the government to rollback its privatisation plan and save the VSP, which is the pride of the Telugu people.

She said the central trade unions are extending their support for the cause of the steel plant.

“I extend support to this cause which is so dear not only to Andhra people but it is dear to the national working class,” she added.

YSRCP Rajya Sabha member V. Vijayasai Reddy said all the MPs from the state’s ruling party joined the protesters in Delhi, holding up placards protesting the steel plant sale.

“I assured that we will participate in any protest they take up to save the steel plant,” he said.

The YSRCP leader reiterated that their leader and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is completely against the privatisation plan.