Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday served notices to the Central government to file its response within four weeks on its decision to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
A division bench comprising Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ganga Rao heard a petition filed by a retired IPS officer, V.V. Lakshmi Narayana, challenging the Union Cabinet’s decision on divesting its stake in VSP.
Petitioner’s counsel Adi Narayana Rao argued that the decision to privatise VSP was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs without taking into consideration various alternatives available to turn around VSP as suggested by both the state government and the petitioner and that no discussion was taken up on the criteria for selecting public sector entities for privatisation.
Counsel informed the court that the plant was having the latest infrastructure and the right to life of thousands of farmers, who parted with their lands for setting up the plant, was infringed upon as most of them were not given permanent employment as assured by the company at the time of land acquisition.
He referred to the case of Narmada Bachao Andolan, where the Supreme Court reiterated the importance of fulfilling the promise which was made at the time of acquiring the land.
Advocate-General S. Sriram submitted that the state government has written a letter to the Centre suggesting several alternatives for the revival of the RINL and requested for a review of the Union Cabinet’s decision to sell VSP.
After hearing the counsels, the court posted the next hearing in the case after four weeks....