The public sector Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) contributes not just to the growth of the State but also to the economy of the nation and we will not allow it to go into the hands of a few individuals, the speakers at a roundtable, warned the Centre.
The roundtable was held, under the aegis of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), at the Public Library here on Monday.
CITU State president Ch. Narasinga Rao, former MLC and Prajashakti Editor M.V.S. Sarma, Centurion University Vice-Chancellor G.S.N. Raju, former V-C of Acharya Nagarjuna University V. Balmohan Das, Adikavi Nannaya University former V-C A. George Victor, senior journalist V.V. Ramana Murthy, Forum for Development of North Andhra convener A. Aja Sarma, Autonagar Industries Owners Association president A.K. Balaji, AITUC district president P. Ramana, IFTU State vice president M. Venkateswarlu, INTUC district secretary K. Eswara Rao, IFTU district secretary Ganesh Panda, HMS district secretary K. Ramamurthy, CFTUI national leaders K. Kanaka Rao, AICTU district secretary K. Sankar Rao, Working Women convener P. Mani, POW leader D. Rohini, AIDWA city secretary Priyanka, PDSO general secretary A. Suresh and trade union leaders of LIC, Defence, Steel Plant and Postal Unions were among those who participated.
CITU city general secretary M. Jaggu Naidu presided.
The CITU State president recalled that VSP was born due to agitations by the people as the then Congress government had promised it for election gains and later went back on it. Though the Centre had failed to fund the plant, it had earned profits and expanded to 7.3 million tonnes after meeting the expenses partly out of its own funds and partly through loans. It had paid crores of rupees as taxes to the Central and the State governments.
During the agitation for establishment of the plant, 32 persons had sacrificed their lives and 16,500 families had given 22,000 acres of land for the establishment of the plant. Leaders of various political parties had resigned to their posts apart from the Communists during the agitation for the plant.
Mr. Narasinga Rao said that the CITU would mobilise the support of the people and trade unions in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for opposing the privatisation of VSP.
The participants recalled their association with the agitation for establishment of the plant.