Visakhapatnam: Thousands took part in the Mahadharna organised by trade unions opposing the privatisation of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (RINL)-Visakhapatnam steel plant at the Gandhi statue opposite the GVMC main office here in the city on Friday.
Parliament members MVV Satyanarayana of Visakhapatnam and Dr. Satyavati of Anakapalle said that the gathering would not rest until the proposal to privatise the steel plant was dropped and announced that they would even undertake hunger strikes if the demand was not met.
The speakers included state CITU president Ch. Narasinga Rao, CPI leader JV Satyanarayana Murthy, steel plant union leaders N. Ramarao, Adinarayana, and Mantri Rajasekhar who noted that the steel plant remained as the only major industry in the State which provided livelihood 30 employees including officers and contract workers directly and another one lakh people indirectly.
Though the government failed to provide captive mines for the plant, it increased its capacity from 3.2 million tonnes to 7.3 million tonnes with Rs.18,000 crore. While the government spent only Rs.4890 crore on the plant, the assets of the plant swelled to nearly Rs. 2 lakh crore and over Rs.42,000 crore was paid in the name of dividend and taxes by the plant, they pointed out.
The trade union leaders urged the people’s representatives to take the fight to Parliament and legislative bodies and recalled how the people’s representatives had quit their posts with the demand ‘Visakha Ukku, Andhrula Hakku’, and helped the plant come into existence.
All the trade unions and political parties including Jana Sena Party took part in the Mahadharna. Though the BJP did not take part, its Member of Legislative Council PVN Madhav already met the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in Delhi on Thursday and pleaded for continuing the steel plant in public sector in the wake of growing public resentment against the government move.