The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution opposing the decision of the Union government on 100% strategic disinvestment of its shareholding in the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. The Assembly requested the Union government to drop the move to privatise the Steel Plant, and to consider instead 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, which was adopted unanimously after the ruling YSRCP legislator from Anakapalle Gudivada Amarnath spoke against the Union governmentâ€™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 turn around for the Vizag steel plant. Allocation of captive iron ores, conversion of short- term and long-term loans into equity, taking off the repayment and interest burden, and monetising over 7,000 acres of vacant land (in VSPs possession) were some other measures that would help in the turnaround, the resolution added.
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 nation's rescue by supplying the much-needed LMO at a very competitive price, thereby stabilising the market prices of liquid oxygen itself,â€ť Goutham Reddy noted.
RINL (the corporate entity of VSP) has achieved its highest-ever capacity utilisation 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, the minister said. "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. "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.