Cutting across party lines, Rajya Sabha members on Friday opposed the government's to move to allow strategic disinvestment in three subsidiaries of the state-run steel behemoth SAIL. Last week, the country's largest steel maker SAIL said the government has given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment in Salem Steel Plant (SSP), Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant and Alloy Steel Plant in Durgapur. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) said he had given a notice under Rule 267 on the disinvestment of the Salem Steel Plant (SSP) as it is a "very serious issue". He said the government on the advice of the Niti Aayog has given an in-principle approval of the disinvestment of SSP, which will have a "very bad impact" on the industrial development of the region and the country. SSP is a profit making plant and its disinvestment will impact the jobs of 2,500 full-time and 5,000 contract employees, Siva said. While Siva was speaking, Vijila Sathyanath (AIADMK) started raising a query.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked her to sit down but his directions went unheeded. Kurien then sternly told her again to sit down, which she then did.T K Rangarajan of the CPI(M) too raised the issue of strategic disinvestment of SSP saying the steel plant should not be privatised. Kurien then allowed Sathyanath to raise her query. She said that she and her party "strongly object" to the move to disinvest SAIL's stake in SSP. B K Hariprasad (Cong) also raised the issue of strategic disinvestment in the SAIL subsidiaries.