Will intensify agitation on VSP issue, says CPI

‘Centre exploiting the crisis brought about by COVID-19’

CPI State secretary K. Ramakrishna has said that the decision on privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) is taken as part of the larger policy decision of the Centre to privatise all public sector organisations in the country.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Ramakrishna called for a mass movement against the privatisation of VSP. BSNL was weakened and employees were forced into voluntary retirement with the objective of privatising the telecom giant. Measures were being taken to privatise Air India, Railways and the LIC, which has assets worth over ₹1 lakh crore, he alleged.

Commending all political parties for opposing the decision to privatise VSP, he recalled the sacrifices of 32 persons and resignation of 68 MPs in order to achieve the establishment of the steel plant in the city, and called for opposing the decision at any cost.

He said that BJP leaders from the State were also opposing the decision. BJP State president Somu Veerraju and MLC P.V.N. Madhav were meeting Union Ministers in Delhi on the issue, he said.

The CPI State secretary said that the NDA government has failed to do justice to the State. It had failed to grant a special package to north Andhra and Rayalaseema, had failed to establish a steel plant in Kadapa and a port in Ramayapatnam, and was yet to grant Special Category Status to the State as promised in the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Mr. Ramakrishna alleged that the crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic was being exploited by the BJP government to put the privatisation policy on fast-track mode. Expressing the view that the letter written by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to the Prime Minister was not enough, he said that the alternatives put forth by Mr. Reddy could be considered only after an assurance was given by the Centre. He suggested that the Chief Minister should convene a meeting of all political parties and lead an all-party delegation to Delhi.

Mr. Ramakrishna said that a Statewide bandh would be organised and protests would also be held in Delhi. Saying that the people of Telangana also had a soft corner for VSP, he recalled the contribution of people from Warangal, Adilabad, Hyderabad and other districts in the movement for achievement of VSP, in erstwhile combined Andhra Pradesh.

The CPI would tour all districts and create awareness among the people on the issue after the local body polls, he said.

CPI State Assistant secretary J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, city secretary M. Pydiraju and district executive member A. Vimala were present.

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