At an all-party gate meeting at the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), leaders from the YSR Congress Party and various recognised trade unions vowed to continue the agitation till the Union government revoked its decision on strategic sale of VSP.
Speaking at the meeting, Visakhapatnam MP M.V.V. Satyanarayana questioned how the Union government intended to turn a ‘loss-making’ public sector unit into a profitable one just by selling it to a private company. He alleged that there was a hidden agenda behind the decision.
Anakapalle MP B. Satyavathi said she would approach the Minister of Steel, the Finance Minister and even the Prime Minister, suggesting that the sale proposal be stopped.
CPI(M) leader Ganga Rao said terming the VSP a loss- making unit was false propaganda. It had always been making operating profit. The loss being shown was due to the high interest the PSU had been paying for its loans and the lack of captive mines, he said.
A major portion of the VSP’s production cost was going up due to lack of captive mines. If mines were allotted, the steel plant would make profit from Day One, he said.
A.J. Stalin of the CPI said that earlier many PSUs, including Hindustan Zinc Limited in Visakhapatnam, were sold but that had not changed their fortune.
He also alleged that selling the steel plant was a ploy to benefit private companies by selling its vast resource of land through real estate ventures.
A large number of employees from the VSP and recognised trade unions participated.
The next gate meeting is scheduled to be held on February 10.