Memorandum against privatisation of Vizag steel plant submitted to AP CM

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Visakhapatnam, Feb 17 (PTI) The Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, which is fighting against the proposed privatisation of the steel plant here, on Wednesday requested Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to immediately convene a session of the Assembly and pass a resolution opposing the Centre's decision.

Leaders of the joint action committee met the Chief Minister at the airport here as he arrived for a brief visit and submitted a three-page memorandum, urging that the state government exert pressure on the Centre to desist from going ahead with the strategic sale of the steel plant, a Navaratna company owned by the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited.

The committee leaders recalled that the Visakha steel plant was set up after a protracted struggle and sacrifice of 32 lives.

'The Visakha plant is manufacturing steel of international quality.

Till date, the Centre invested only Rs 4,950 crore on the plant whereas it paid a whopping Rs 44,000 crore in the form of taxes and dividends.

The state government, too, earned a revenue of Rs 8,565 crore,' they pointed out.

The livelihood of about five lakh persons was directly and indirectly dependent on the steel plant.

They alleged that the Centre was seeking to dispose of the plant, worth Rs 3 lakh crore, for a paltry price of Rs 1,162 crore.

'It is unjustified and deplorable that the Centre is seeking to sell away the golden goose to corporates at a throwaway price.

Visakha Steel Plant is the pride of AP. We hope the state government will come forward to stop the decision of selling away this jewel,' the Committee leaders told the CM.

Noting that the steel plant did not have captive (iron ore) mines of its own, they wanted the state government to bring pressure on the Centre for allocation of mines that could be the only solution for the protection and development of the plant.

'We sincerely hope you will take the initiative and direct all the MPs of AP to talk to the Central government and the ministers concerned on the issue.

If the Centre remains adamant, we trust you will take the lead in building a wider and strong movement opposing the sale of the steel plant and protect the interests of the people of the state,' the Committee leaders urged Jagan. PTI DBV ROH ROH