‘Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku’ slogan that reverberated in the undivided Andhra Pradesh around 55 years ago for the establishment of the steel plant, echoed again on Friday as thousands of the RINL Visakhapatnam Steel Plant employees and several political outfits took out a massive rally protesting the Union government’s plan to sale the RINLrun plant.
On 27 January, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave in-principle approval for 100 per cent strategic disinvestment of the Government of India shareholding in RINL along with management control by way of privatisation. This has triggered an uproar in several quarters. Demanding that the Centre rolls back its decision, thousands of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant employees launched a massive rally in the city on Friday morning.
The bike rally commenced from Kurmannapalem and ended at the GVMC office in the city. Standing in solidarity with the protestors, Gajuwaka MLA Tippala said, “We strongly oppose the decision to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. If the Centre does not take a U-turn, lakhs of people will hit the streets as a mark of protest.” Asking people to remember the slogan, ‘Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku’, the MLA said, “32 people had sacrificed their lives during the agitations for the establishment of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and there is no question of letting the privatisation happen. If needed, leaders of all parties shall join hands to protest against the move and save Visakhapatnam Steel Plant at any cost.” YSRCP MPs to protest in Parliament
Addressing the gathering, Lok Sabha member MVV Satyanarayana said YSRCP was opposed to the privatisation of Vizag Steel Plant and the issue would be taken to the notice of CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy. “We will stage dharna at the main gate of the steel plant and block the privatisation in the Parliament,” the MP said and added that the elected representatives would support the agitation programme of trade unions and steel plant employees. Anakapalle MP Dr Satyavati said the steel plant had been the pride of Andhra Pradesh and her party would not allow the privatisation move of the central government
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