Former CBI joint director and retired IPS officer VV Lakshminarayana on Tuesday approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court asking it to declare the decision of the Central Government to privatise the Visakhapatnam steel plant unconstitutional. In his 109-page Public Interest Litigation (PIL), VVL listed the reasons why the Central Government’s privatisation decision should be stayed. He also suggested alternative measures and argued that the privatisation decision is against Articles 12, 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
Citing the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) of the Centre on January 27 to privatise Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, VVL also sought a direction to the Centre to take alternative measures for the revival of RINL and protect the steel plant, call for the records with regard to the feasibilities and proposals for allotting captive mining leases of iron ore to the steel plant which would be a great strength bringing down the cost of manufacturing steel by RINL by a good 50 per cent and enable it to continue to run profitably.
The retired IPS officer also named the State Government, the RINL, and the district Collector of Visakhapatnam as parties to the case. Chronicling the history of the steel plant in his PIL, VVL said that in 1970, the poor farmers lost their fertile lands for the good cause of establishment of the Vizag Steel plant at a cheaper price with Rs 1,200 per acre.