As many as 29 companies, including seven international players, have submitted bids for supply of raw materials and providing working capital to Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). The deadline for filing of Expression of Interest (EoI) invited by the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), ended on Thursday, April 20. The Telangana government, which had sent a team from Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) last week to VSP to study the feasibility of filing EoI, stayed away from the process. Sources in the VSP said both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments showed no interest in filing bids for the EoI.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had sent a team of SCCL officials to the VSP to study the feasibility and the move had triggered curiosity in political circles. While employees of the VSP, who have been protesting against the Union government’s decision to privatise the public sector undertaking, had welcomed the move, Andhra Pradesh's ruling party YSR Congress had criticised the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government for adopting double standards on the issue.
Andhra Pradesh Industry Minister Gudivada Amarnath had slammed BRS for opposing the privatisation of VSP and at the same time, planning to participate in the bidding. Parties opposing privatisation of the VSP had also demanded that the YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh participate in the bidding to save the PSU.
As per the earlier schedule, the deadline for submitting bids for EoI was to end on April 15 but the RINL extended the last date by five days. The RINL had invited EoI for supply of raw materials and (or) funding of working capital against the supply of finished steel products.
Meanwhile, former CBI joint director V V Lakshmi Narayana, who has submitted a bid, asked the VSP management to clarify if they accept public donations to tide over the working capital crunch which led to the issuance of EoI.
The retired IPS officer submitted a letter to the Chairman and Managing Director of VSP, informing him that he wished to request people to donate funds required for the working capital of the RINL in the form of public donations credited directly to the RINL bank account. He mentioned in the letter that recently, people have contributed in the form of donations for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
"It was stated during discussions that to keep the plant running at full capacity of 7.3 MTPA, an estimated amount of Rs 850 crore is required per month for a period of 4 months," Lakshmi Narayana wrote.
Addressing a press conference along with Lakshmi Narayana on Wednesday, Praja Shanti Party President and evangelist K A Paul had said that he was ready to purchase the steel plant at five times more than the quoted price. He said he was also fighting a legal battle against the privatisation of the VSP.