Affirming that it will oppose privatization of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), YSRCP has said that it will fight it out and demanded the Centre to review its decision. Addressing a joint press conference here on Tuesday, Parliamentary Party leader V Vijayasai Reddy said that Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has shown alternatives to save VSP and bring a turnaround. He has also written a letter seeking an early appointment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the same.
VSP is an emotional and sentimental issue and the entire State has been opposing the move, he said. It is a matter of great concern for the people of AP, employees of RINL and other stakeholders, where 32 lives were laid down to get VSP. Apart from adopting a resolution in the State Assembly they will continue their fight till the Centre reverts its decision, he said. In regard to this, the Chief Minister has shown alternative ways and proposed to allocate captive mines and explore equity options, where the public can make a purchase instead of a private organization, he said.
Going into the details, he stated that the plant performed well between 2002 to 2015, earning profits, but suddenly came to a downfall due to the economic crisis from 2015 onwards resulting in a pile of debts and losses. Recalling the suggestions put by the Chief Minister, he said that the plant is dependent on NMDC mines and due to the lack of captive mines, Rs 3470 Crores is being burdened on RINL, allotting captive mines would reduce input costs. Similarly, he stated that all those short and long term loans could be converted into equity taking off repayment pressures and interest burden.
Minister for Tourism, Muttamsetti Srinivas slammed opposition TDP leaders for distorting the facts lying behind the issue and blaming the government, despite having no role in the VSP privatisation. “The steel plant comes under the Centre and there is no way that the state government is involved,” was told by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, but TDP leaders are putting up a lame drama to confuse people. Chandrababu Naidu doesn’t have the guts to question the Union Government or write a letter to them and BJP partner Pawan Kalyan who contested from Gajuwaka also doesn’t dare to urge on reconsidering the disinvestment proposal, he said.
MP MVV Satyanarayana and Minister Kurasala Kannababu said that the Centre had decided to privatize the steel plant in 2018 when Chandrababu Naidu was the Chief Minister as the plant suffered heavy losses during the TDP rule. The YSRCP leaders have assured that the state government will fight until the centre changes its decision to withdraw the privatization plans.