CPI State assistant secretary J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy has demanded that the Centre immediately drop the move of withdrawing its stake in the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) and handing over the plant to the POSCO.
Addressing the media here on Thursday, Mr. Murthy recalled that when the VSP was on the verge of being referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) in 1998-99 fiscal year, freedom fighters Patti Seshayya and Bairagi had prepared for taking a ‘Jala Samadhi’. The struggle had not only prevented the VSP of being referred to the BIFR but also saw the plant earning profits in the subsequent years.
The plant has gone for expansion from 3.4 million tonnes to 7.3 million tonnes, with its own funds and bank loans. The ‘Navaratna’ PSU is being privatised on the plea that it is accruing losses after 2015, he said.
“The VSP is the biggest heavy industry in the State and it is for this reason that Gajuwaka Assembly constituency has people with the highest per capita income in the State. The allocation of captive mines to the VSP will help the it make profit again,” Mr. Murthy observed.
He recalled that the Centre, in the past, had divested its stake in the Hindustan Zinc Plant (HZL) and it was handed over to the Vedanta Group later. “Similarly, plans are afoot to hand over the VSP to the POSCO. Agitations against the move will be intensified in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” said Mr. Murthy.
CPI leaders M. Pydiraju and A. Vimala were present on the occcasion.