On the initial day of his four-day tour, actor-turned-politician and Jana Sena Party founder Pawan Kalyan extended his support to the employees of Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) who are fighting against the privatisation of DCI in Vizag.
The employees are agitating against the proposed 100% strategic sale of equity by the union government. They had met Pawan Kalyan earlier in the week to seek his help in the matter.
On Wednesday Pawan met with the bereaved family of N Venkatesh who committed suicide recently due to uncertainty about the future of his job at DCI.
Following Venkatesh’s suicide, employee organisations along with officers have intensified the agitation. Pawan Kalyan met the employees who are on relay hunger strike in the city.
Pawan objected to the government’s plans of strategic sale of the corporation despite showing profit.
Speaking at the meeting, he said, “One can understand if the government is giving up a corporation running in loss. But I wonder at their move to privatise DCI even though it is profitable.”
He reminded the union government that DCI is a world-renowned dredging company, and demanded that the union and state governments consider the lives of the people who contributed to DCI’s development.
While accusing the Anakapalli and Vizag MPs of turning a deaf ear to the problems of the DCI employees, he stated that “those who don’t have concern for the issues faced by the public don’t have the right to ask for votes in 2019.”
Making his stand clear, he said, “They might escape from addressing your concerns, but I won’t. I asked for your votes for the BJP and TDP in 2014, so it’s my moral responsibility to take up this issue.”
He added, “I have come to stand by my words, to continue to address the concerns of the public. I will never step back from questioning the parties that I have supported.”
The JSP chief also invited the Andhra Pradesh opposition leader Jaganmohan Reddy and all other parties to come together to address issues irrespective of party affiliation.
Pawan has also written to Prime Minister Modi to intervene in the matter and stop the sale of DCI to private players.
Pawan Kalyan is on a four-day long political tour in both the Telugu states to draw public opinion on the different policies of the union and state governments.
DCI is one of the top 10 dredging companies in the world. According to top officials of the corporation, DCI is a profit-making company ever since it was set up in 1976 and privatisation would be a national loss.
P.K. Sethi, Joint General Manager, told Business Line, “The DCI is the pride of Andhra Pradesh as its corporate office was set up here instead of in Mumbai. The government wants to sell it for just Rs. 1,500 crore, undervaluing its assets which are actually worth Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 6,000 crore.”