The workers and employees of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), their family members, trade union representatives, displaced persons and their families cooked food on the streets at four places as part of their ‘Vanta Varpu’ protest demanding that the Centre repeal its decision on strategic sale of the VSP.
The protests were held at Kurmannapalem, Peda Gantyada, near the Telugu Talli statue and at the junction near the Administrative Office Building simultaneously on Friday as part of the ongoing struggles, under the aegis of the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Committee (VUPPC), to save the steel plant from privatisation.
Speaking at the protest near Peda Gantyada Junction, VUPPC chairman Ch. Narasinga Rao said, “Today (November 26) is the National Constitution Day and it also marks the completion of one year of the farmers protests against the farm laws. The agitation against privatisation of VSP is nearly 10-months-old. The Constitution says that core industries should remain in the public sector but the Union government wants to hand them over to corporate groups, in violation of the spirit of the Constitution.”
Representatives of Ukku Nirvasitula Sangham wondered why Mr. Narendra Modi was against the people of the State. The Centre has repealed the farm laws after the farmers agitated for nearly one year. They said that the agitation to save VSP would be intensified and would be stopped only when the Centre repeals its decision. They alleged that the Union government was keen on selling VSP lands to raise thousands of crores as revenue.
The VUPPC leaders garlanded the statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar near the Administrative Office Building of the VSP. They released a souvenir on the farmers’ agitation. The speakers alleged that the BJP government was trampling upon the rights given to the people by the Constitution and it was the responsibility of each and every individual to uphold those rights. They said that a unanimous resolution was adopted in the Assembly opposing the decision of the Centre on the strategic sale of the VSP, but it was not considered by the BJP government, which has appointed Legal and Transaction Advisers to go ahead with the ‘strategic sale’.
They said that the advisers would not be allowed to set foot in the plant premises and if the VSP management cooperated with them, it would have to face the consequences from the steel employees.
The VUPPC leaders warned that if the peaceful agitation was not heeded by the Centre, they would not hesitate to intensify the struggles.