Visakhapatnam :YSRC leader and Rajya Sabha member V Vijaysai Reddy has blamed the Odisha government for the privatization of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
After chairing a review meeting with local MPs and trade union leaders in Vizag city on Thursday, Vijaysai Reddy said steel minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from Odisha, hatched a conspiracy to privatize the RINL.
He said RINL paid Rs 360 crore to Odisha Mining Corporation for iron ore some 10 years ago. Subsequently, the company paid another Rs 1,000 crore as a penalty, but to date, neither iron ore nor funds have been returned.
He said TK Chand, who aspired to become CMD of RINL, resigned and misappropriated Rs 2,000 crore. A CBI inquiry was ordered, but it never progressed.
Another set of officers made RINL invest Rs 2,000 for the forged wheel factory at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. The project is yet to be commissioned, he said.
"In all, RINL lost Rs 5,300 crore capital money which would have helped the company during the current crisis," Vijaysai Reddy said and added that the company went for massive expansion without the Centre's help. He said YSRCP was strongly opposed to the privatization move. Vijaysai Reddy said MPs representing YSRCP, TDP, CPI, CPI (M), AAP and LJP would seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that they could explain how the steel plant was important for the people of Andhra Pradesh.
All the YSRCP MPs would meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday and submit a memorandum in this regard. Another delegation comprising top union leaders would meet Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy soon to discuss the privatization issue, he said.
Minister for Tourism Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao said the YSRCP government was not aware of the MoU signed between RINL and POSCO. The state government was completely kept in the dark. Vijay Sai Reddy appealed to the TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, BJP, and Jana Sena leaders not to politicize the issue. "YSRCP is opposing privatization tooth and nail and we are quite clear about it," the minister said.
Explaining the dangers of privatization, the minister said around 4,500 employees belonging to SC, ST, and other weaker sections would lose their jobs.
State president of CITU Ch Naringa Rao appealed to the State government to explore the possibility of exploiting iron ore mines at Obulapuram, Ongole, and West Godavari districts.
He said POSCO runs a fully automated plant with just 4,000 employees for producing 41 million tons, while RINL has more than 20,000 employees.
"Per capita income in Gajuwaka is the highest in the state due to the steel plant," Narsinga Rao said.