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    HomeAndhra PradeshIncreased demonstrations against steel plant privatisation during CM Jagan's visit to Vizag

    Increased demonstrations against steel plant privatisation during CM Jagan’s visit to Vizag

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    Protests broke out in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, May 3, as workers from the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant rallied against its privatization. The Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee (VUPPC) and labor unions organized a statewide road block to oppose the move. Tensions rose between police and protesters in some areas of Andhra Pradesh during the demonstrations. Senior leaders, including former minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, were arrested. The VUPPC has been protesting for the past 811 days, calling on the Union government to abandon the idea of privatizing the steel plant.

    The workers staged a sit-in protest, causing traffic congestion at Kurmannapalem junction, where the plant is located. The VUPCC reported that Wednesday’s protests included demonstrations statewide from Srikakulam to Anantapur. The protesters demand that Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu meet with the Prime Minister to put pressure on the Union government to revoke its decision.

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    In Vijayawada, left parties including CPI, CPI(M), and CPI(I) called for protest and termed the steel plant’s privatization a betrayal. They demanded that all parties in the state work to preserve the steel plant as it was established as a result of several sacrifices of the people. The president of the Forum for Achieving Special Category Status, Chalasani Srinivas, was detained by the Vijayawada police. Senior leader and former minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao and left party leaders V Srinivas Rao, CH Baburao, and Y Keshavrao were arrested after the protests in Vijayawada.

    The Union government announced its decision to privatize the steel plant in January 2021 and called for Expressions of Interest (EoI) through Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of the steel plant on March 27. By April 20, 29 companies, including seven international players, had submitted bids for supply of raw materials and providing working capital to the steel plant.

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