August 01, 2021

AP: Vizag Steel Workers Seek Solidarity of MPs

A DELEGATION of ‘Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee’ (Struggle Committee to Save Vizag Steel Plant) from Andhra Pradesh met opposition political party leaders and floor leaders of different political parties in New Delhi between July 23 and 25. They submitted representations and requested solidarity for their struggle against the privatisation and sale of one of India’s Navaratna and a public sector undertaking, the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

The struggle of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant workers drew the attention of the nation when, on January 27, the BJP-led union government firmly adhering to the neoliberal policies, took a decision to approve the strategic sale of the plant. As a result of the workers’ struggle, the disinvestment process has been put at bay.

The delegation also requested the leaders to give a solidarity message to the Visakhapatnam Steel workers who are gearing up for a two-day mass dharna from August 2 at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

The delegation met Left Parties leaders including Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPI(M), B V Raghavulu,  Polit Bureau member of CPI(M), D Raja, general secretary of CPI, Tapan Sen, CITU general secretary and Amarjeet Kaur, AITUC general secretary, to seek solidarity. The delegation said that the leaders had expressed their strong support to the anti-privatisation movement and suggested that they build a strong movement in Andhra Pradesh.

The delegation met different political leaders and said that the leaders had assured to even stall the proceedings of the parliament to stop the sale of the Steel Plant at a cheaper price to big corporations. They met Congress parliamentarians Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Sharma, Sudeep Bandopadhyaya of Trinamool Congress, Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party and Pashupati Kumar Paras of the Lok Janshakti Party.

The delegation has also fixed appointments with NCP leader, Sharad Pawar and others in the next week to seek their support. The meeting with the Left parties and other parliamentary political party leaders has brought confidence among the delegation as they extended their support for the cause and assured to bring up the issue at the national level, said the delegation.

The delegation also met finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and minister for steel, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh and appealed them to reconsider the decision immediately. The delegation also requested the government to allot captive mines to the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and also convert the loan to equity which will solve the problems of the Plant. The ministers have not replied showing their adamant nature, said the delegation which has resolved to intensify their struggles.