Move to privatise steel plant is an insult to martyrs, says Naidu

‘Chief Minister is running away from his responsibility of protecting the VSP’

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has described the decision to sell the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) as an insult to the sacrifices of those, who had laid down their lives for its establishment.

Mr. Naidu flew down to the city on Tuesday afternoon and went straight to the hospital, where former MLA and TDP Parliamentry district unit president Palla Srinivasa Rao was admitted after being forcibly shifted from the hunger strike camp, in the early hours. Mr. Naidu gave juice to Mr. Srinivasa Rao and made him give up his indefinite fast.

Later, addressing the party workers and residents of nearby areas, who gathered outside the hospital, Mr. Naidu alleged that while the Centre has put up the VSP for sale, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has run away from his responsibility of protecting the plant. He wondered what was preventing the Chief Minister from opening his mouth on the issue. Representatives of POSCO had come thrice and they met the Chief Minister but he was ‘tight-lipped’ on the issue, Mr. Naidu alleged.

The State government should to take up the issue with the Centre, as it was voted to power by the people and the TDP, as an Opposition party, would cooperate in such efforts, Mr. Naidu said.

He said the ‘ukku sankalpam’ (steely determination) of the people of the State had led to the setting up of VSP. As many as 32 persons had lost their lives for the plant and farmers had parted with 22,000 acres of land. The land alone is valued at around ₹2 lakh crore at present market value. The steel plant has not only provided thousands of jobs to the people but has also contributed crores of rupees in the form of taxes to the Centre and the State over the years, Mr. Naidu said.

Referring to the fast launched by Mr. Srinivasa Rao, Mr. Naidu said that the YSRCP leaders and the Ministers had not even bothered to meet him. Describing the VSP as the ‘heart’ of Visakhapatnam, the former Chief Minister recalled his efforts for the protection of the VSP, when it was on the verge of being referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), by taking up the issue with the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Mr. Naidu also claimed to have ensured justice to the displaced persons and provision of water to meet the needs of the steel plant.

Former Ministers Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy, K. Atchannaidu, N. Chinarajappa, Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu, MLAs, MLCs, former MLAs and party leaders participated in the meeting.

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