The workers of Visakhapatnam's historic Vizag Steel Plant (VSP), who have been protesting the union government's decision to privatise the plant, today warned the government that it would face "serious consequences" if it did not roll back its decision.
The protestors held a massive agitation program against the government's decree.
In a show of solidarity with the plant's workers, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Minister Avanthi Srinivas and many YSR Congress Party MLAs also took part in the agitation. The leaders of all the workers' unions from various political parties too were part of the demonstration.
Speaking on the occasion, the union leaders made clear the fact that they were ready to make any kind of sacrifice to stop the privatisation of the plant just as they had they sacrificed a lot for its establishment.
"We have taken inspiration from Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, and will not back down. We will make any sacrifice required to stop our plant from being privatised," they asserted.
They also said that the VSP, contrary to the claims of the union government, was making profits, and added that the management of the plant had taken even loans for its expansion.
The unions' representatives demanded that the BJP leaders in the state and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan intervene in the matter, and pressurise the Centre to prevent it from implementing its controversial decision.
They alleged that the Centre's decision revealed the fact that it was behaving in a discriminatory fashion towards all the southern-Indian states.
The Centre's decision has triggered a major backlash in AP. TDP MLA from Visakhapatnam North Ganta Srinivasa Rao even tendered his resignation in protest
of the Centre's decision to privatise the VSP.
The historical plant, locals feel, is part of the very culture of the city. It was established in 1977 after a long and bitter struggle in which several people even lost their lives.