Visakhapatnam: Tourism minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao (Avanti) alleged that the Odisha government had conspired to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
He said VSP’s owner Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) had paid Rs 360 crore to Odisha Mining Corporation 10 years ago for purchasing iron ore and subsequently it paid another Rs 1,000 crore as a penalty but till date neither did OMC supply the ore nor did it return the funds.
Stating that YSRC was strongly opposed to the privatisation of VSP, Avanti Srinivas said the MPs representing the YSRC, TD, CPI, CPM, AAP and the LJP would seek an appointment to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and explain to him how the steel plant was important to the people of Andhra Pradesh. As a prelude to this meeting, all the YSRCP MPs would meet home minister Amit Shah on Friday and submit a memorandum.
He said another delegation comprising top union leaders would meet Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy soon to discuss the privatisation issue.
“The YSRC government was not aware of the MoU entered between RINL and POSCO. The state government was completely put in the dark,” he said and appealed to the Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu, and the leaders of the BJP and the Jana Sena not to politicise the issue under these circumstances.
“The YSRC is opposing the privatisation of VSP tooth and nail and we are quite clear about it,” the minister said.
Explaining the dangers of privatisation, the minister said around 4,500 employees belonging to SC, ST and other weaker sections would lose their jobs if the steel plant was privatised.
CITU state president Ch Naringa Rao appealed to the state government to explore the possibility of exploiting iron ore mines at Obulapuram, Ongole and West Godavari districts.
He said POSCO runs a fully-automated plant with just 4,000 employees producing 4.1 crore tonnes while RINL employs more than 20,000 people.
He also said that per capita income in Gajuwaka was the highest in the state because of the steel plant....