Amravati: The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday (May 19, 2021) passed a resolution opposing the decision of the Centre on 100 per cent strategic disinvestment of its shareholding in the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
The Assembly requested the central government to drop the move to privatize the Steel Plant, which is a symbol of Andhra pride, but instead, consider the various options suggested by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to make Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) profitable.
Industries and Investments Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy moved the resolution in the House and it was adopted unanimously after the ruling YSR Congress legislator from Visakhapatnam G Amarnath spoke against the Centre’s move.
In the resolution, the minister recalled the two letters written by the CM to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February and March this year, suggesting four major measures that would enable a turnaround for the VSP.
RINL (the corporate entity of VSP) has achieved its highest-ever capacity utilization of 6.3 million tonnes per annum against the installed capacity of 7.3 MTPA from December 2020 and started making a monthly profit of close to Rs 200 crore.
“Continuing this performance for a further period of two years will help RINLs financial situation immensely,” the resolution said, quoting from the Chief Minister’s letters.
The Industries Minister pointed out that the VSP has been at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19 by ensuring regular supplies of liquid medical oxygen. “RINL has also risen to the challenge of supplying LMO even to Maharashtra by augmenting infrastructure in a short time.
It has truly come to the nations rescue by supplying the much-needed LMO at a very competitive price, thereby stabilizing the market prices of liquid oxygen itself, Goutham Reddy noted.
“Considering these circumstances, the state government requests the Government of India to consider the measures suggested by the Chief Minister to make RINL profitable and remain the pride of Telugu people and the state of Andhra Pradesh,” the resolution said.
Vizag Steel Plant Privatisation- A festering issue
On February 3, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had cleared the decision to privatise RINL to raise Rs 1.75 lakh crores. The announcement had come after CCEA gave in-principle approval to disinvest the Vizag steel plant on January 27, 2021. It gave a final go-ahead for 100 per cent strategic disinvestment of the Centres shareholding in RINL.
Soon after the announcement, Left parties and state labour unions began protesting against the move to privatise the steel plant and on February 6 also staged a protest to save the public sector enterprise which currently employs more than 20,000 people directly and indirectly.
Meanwhile, the Central Government has clarified that the State government does not have any equity in RINL and that privatisation of the same will lead to better productivity and more employment opportunities. However, the State Government is consulted in specific matters as and when needed and their support is also solicited in the matters that require their intervention.
(With inputs from PTI )