Hundreds of employees of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant on Friday took out a protest rally against the proposed divestment of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of the steel- maker.
The parties, including the ruling YSR Congress, supported the agitation.
The protestors demanded that the Centre withdraw its proposal and save the steel plant as it is one of the biggest and profitablepublic sector undertakings in the state.
The Union Cabinet had cleared the privatisation of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), DIPAM (Department of Investment & Public Asset Management) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey tweeted on February 3.
The RINL strategic sale proceeds would be part of the disinvestment target for next fiscal.
The government has budgeted Rs 1.75 lakh crore from disinvestment in 2021-22 fiscal beginning April 1.
"The CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) had, on January 27, 2021, given in-principle approval for 100% strategic disinvestment of the GoI (government of India) shareholding in RINL along with management control by way of privatisation," Pandey tweeted.
General Secretary of the Steel Employees Congress M Rajasekhar said all the unions are opposing the Centres move and would launch a statewide agitation if the government does not withdraw its decision.
Addressing the gathering,Assistant Secretaryof the CPI, Andhra Pradesh, J
V Satyanarana Murty demandedthat the Centre drop the move of withdrawing its stake in RINL.
He said the plant had increased steel productionfrom 3.4 million tonne to 7.3 million tonne with its own funds and with bank loans reflecting its financial strength.
Hedemanded that the Central government allocate captive iron ore mines to the Vizag Steel to make it profitable.
MVV Satyanarayana, YSRCP Lok Sabha member from Visakhapatnam, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to stop privatising the steel plant which, according to the LS member, is one of the low-cost steel producer in the world and the only integrated steel plant in South.
He said the RINL paid Rs 43,000 crore to Andhra Pradesh and the Centre towards various taxes and dividends so far.