A ‘Maha Padayatra’ was conducted in Visakhapatnam on Sunday against the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam steel plant. People from various parties participated in the yatra, which was conducted from Kakatiya Arch to the Old Gajuwaka area in the city. This is the second major walkathon conducted in the city, to gather support against the privatisation of the steel plant and with demands to give jobs to the 8000 R-card holders. The maha padayatra was conducted in the presence of the Gajuwaka MLA Tippala Gurumurthy, and leaders from opposition parties and members from various employee unions also participated in the event.
J Ayodhya Ram, a committee member of a recognised union in the Visakha steel plant, was quoted by The New Indian Express as saying that this Maha Padayatra should be an eye-opener for the Union government and it should reconsider its decision to privatize the plant. The report further added that the padayatra covered all five rehabilitation colonies and conducted a meeting after reaching Old Gajuwaka. Members from the Ukku Nirvasithula Sangham have also participated in the protest to intensify their efforts to stop the privatisation.
As earlier reported by The News Minute, various protests in the city have erupted since the Union government, through its Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), gave its in-principle approval for privatisation of the Vizag steel plant. It was decided that there would be 100% “strategic disinvestment of the Government of India’s shareholding in the Vizag steel plant.”
Despite various protests and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his representations, the Union government is yet to reconsider its decision. Meanwhile, in a recent move in July, the Union government also invited proposals for the engagement of the transaction advisors and legal advisors to complete the disinvestment process of the Vizag steel plant.