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AP BJP President Purandeswari’s Efforts to Stop Privatization of Vizag Steel Plant

AP BJP President Purandeswari's Efforts to Stop Privatization of Vizag Steel Plant


Andhra Pradesh BJP President Purandeswari is making hectic efforts to see that the Vizag Steel Plant is not privatized. Accordingly, she has been urging the central government to consider alternatives. Rajahmundry MP Purandeswari recently requested Union Steel Minister Kumaraswamy to cooperate in leading the plant towards profitable ways. She has suggested its merger with the Steel Authority of India as the best alternative. Whether the central government will withdraw its decision to disinvest and accept Purandeswari’s proposal remains to be seen.

The central faction of the BJP appears to think one way about the Vizag Steel Plant issue, while the state faction appears to think differently. The workers have been protesting the privatization decision for over three years now, and all political parties have been asking the central government to reverse its decision. But the central government has never budged an inch from its stand, asking that the disinvestment decision involves not just one Vizag Steel Plant but a slew of central public sector undertakings. And so, the government claims there is no question of reversing the decision. Efforts were made to appoint consultancy, legal advisor, and transaction advisor for Vizag Steels’ disinvestment.

*Will the Prime Minister Agree?*

Though there has been stiff opposition from union labor movements and political dentition against its forward movement, the central government has never retreated from this disinvestment decision. There is no indication that the central government is now thinking to reverse this decision. The state BJP leaders, at the same time, before elections and even earlier too pointed out this issue before the Prime Minister several times. Prime Minister Modi made it clear that this is a policy matter and no exception can be given. He said that the government has taken a decision to get out of the business of running enterprises and, therefore, cannot withdraw the decision to disinvest. But BJP leaders have been telling people all along that they will try to persuade the central government not to privatize as much as possible. This has been the stand of everyone from GVL Narasimha Rao to CM Ramesh and Purandeswari.

*Offering Merger as a Middle Path* Humphrey

They also moot a middle path of merging the Steel Plant with the Steel Authority of India Limited that would give captive mines to the plant and make it profitable to save the jobs of the employees. BJP state president and MP Purandeswari met Union Minister Kumaraswamy over the issue recently. MP Purandeswari sought the cooperation of Union Minister Kumaraswamy on the matter.

*Purandeswari’s Action Plan*

She presented an action plan to Union Minister Kumaraswamy referring to the previous petitions. Purandeswari explained to Kumaraswamy that Vizag Steel Plant is a massive industry born out of the “Visakha Ukku – Andhrula Hakku” movement. She has asserted that the decision should respect the sentiment of people of Andhra Pradesh and the policies should be towards efficiently managing the steel plant and lead it towards profitability.

*Positive Response from the Steel Minister*

MP Purandeswari requested the Union Minister to take all types of necessary measures to restore the steel plant to its past glory. BJP leaders have reported that Union Minister Kumaraswamy has responded positively to the discussion initiated by MP Purandeswari. He promised to hold another meeting on the same issue in two months after detailed discussions with the officials.

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