Vizag steel privatisation plan snowballs into political issue in Andhra Pradesh

Vizag steel privatisation plan snowballs into political issue in Andhra Pradesh

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the secretary of the department of investment and public asset management, last week announced that the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs had cleared the privatisation of RINL, which employs 34,000-odd people.

Ganta Srinivasa Rao, a TDP lawmaker from Visakhapatnam, sent his resignation to assembly speaker Tammineni Sitaram on Friday in protest against the move.

“I am serious and want all the MLAs [members of legislative assembly] and MPs [members of Parliament] of the state pressure on the Centre,” he said. He asked the state government to convene a special assembly session to pass a resolution against the privatisation.

TDP leader Palla Srinivasa Rao launched a fast-unto-death at the local party office on Wednesday demanding the Centre withdraw its proposal. K Atchan Naidu, another leader of the party, accused chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government of being hand in glove with the Centre in privatising the plant.

Reddy has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to withdraw its plan to privatise the RINL and approve a revival package for it.

State industries minister Mekapati Gautam Reddy asked the Centre to hand over the project to the state government.

Ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) parliamentarian, M V Satyanarayana, also undertook a 24-hour fast against the move. Minister Muthamsetti Srinivasa Rao took part in a sit-in at the steel plant workers against the proposed privatisation on Friday.

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday told Parliament that South Korean steel giant POSCO was keen on acquiring a majority stake in the plant. Pradhan said a non-binding MoU was signed in October 2019 between the RINL and POSCO.

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