Former TDP MLA launches indefinite fast against strategic sale of steel plant

Former TDP MLA Palla Srinivasa Rao launched indefinite fast at his party office in Gajuwaka from Wednesday protesting against the Union government’s decision to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).

Speaking to The Hindu, he said that he would continue the fast till the government revoked the decision.

The plant was set up after 32 people had sacrificed their lives and 19,000 families from over 68 villages had given their land for setting up of the plant, he said.

He also reminded the government that the plant never made operating losses and the losses had piled up due to the high interest that it was paying on debts. Despite several attempts, the successive governments had never made to allocate captive mines to the VSP, due to which it had been incurring losses, as the production cost had gone up, said Mr. Srinivasa Rao.

Initially, TDP leaders had planned to organise a relay hunger strike, but according to Mr. Srinivasa Rao, permission was not accorded. “That is why I decided to launch indefinite fast at my party office,” he said.

He also said that other TDP leaders will support him by taking up relay fast along with him. Coming down heavily on YSRCP MP V. Vijaya Sai Reddy, Mr. Srinivasa Rao said, “What does the MP mean by saying you should be prepared for everything. It clearly shows that the YSRCP has tacit understanding with the BJP-led Union government. He has to make his stand clear.”

Later in the day, TDP MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who had tendered his resignation recently, visited the site of the fast and addressed the gathering. He said he would launch a non-political JAC to take up the issue of the VSP.

Other leaders were present.

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