A bandh is being observed in Andhra Pradesh against the Central government’s decision to privatise the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) Visakhapatnam, popularly known as Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
Nearly all political parties and other organisations in the state, except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are taking part in the bandh, in response to a call by VSP workers unions.
The YSRCP-led state government has also expressed solidarity with the bandh and announced that RTC buses will not run today till 1 pm. Buses have been confined to depots and passengers were seen leaving as no transport is available.
A demonstration has been staged at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station.
“Telugu Desam Party, 10 Left parties, YSRCP and the Congress are supporting this bandh call. I request Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy to have an all-party meeting. He should also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with representatives of all the parties. PM Modi stated very clearly that 100 PSUs will be privatised. This is not a small matter,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) K Ramakrishna told ANI.
“The privatisation of the steel plant is very much opposed in Andhra Pradesh. For the last several days, protests have been taking place. Trade unions and almost all political parties in the state are supporting the bandh. We are glad to see this is support,” P Madhu, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) added.
He further hit out at the Central government saying, “The LIC has also been privatised. The sea, the air – everything is going to be handed over to corporates. The Government should take this decision back.”
P Gowtam Reddy, YSRCP leader also demanded the withdrawal of the decision and said, “The government should verify the practicality of this kind of privatisation.”