Visakhapatnam: A Maha Padayatra was organized in Vizag on Sunday against the privatization of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
Organized by Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, the participants were chanting slogans, `Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) Not for Sale'.
Hundreds of people including steel plant employees, workers, leaders, and activists of various political parties, VSP landowners, and their family members joined Maha Pada Yatra against the sale of VSP.
Minister for Tourism Muttamsetti Srinivas (Avanti) has warned that the ongoing agitation against the privatization of steel plant would be intensified if the central government did not roll back the decision.
On Sunday morning, the minister flagged off the Pada Yatra against the steel plant privatization at Kakatiya Gate which ended at Old Gajuwaka. Mayor G Hari Venkata Kumari, MLAs Tippala Nagi Reddy, Gudivada Amarnath and senior trade union leaders, representatives of displaced person associations, and thousands of steel plant employees participated in the rally.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the steel plant was the pride of Telugu-speaking people and there was no need for privatization when it was making profits. He said thousands of farmers gave their valuable land to the government for setting up the steel plant. Most of them are still waiting for employment in the plant, he said.
Coming down heavily on the BJP government for selling profit-making PSUs in the country, the leaders and activists of the committee denounced the privatization move by the union government and said they will fight till the end.
He said thousands of people are directly and indirectly working in the plant.
Anakapalli MLA Gudivada Amarnath said it was unfortunate that the government was not responding to the pleas of the trade unions, political parties, and employees who have been agitating for months.
Committee leaders said over 8,000 displaced people have been waiting for employment in the VSP. They will not let anyone take over the plant as people sacrificed life and property for it. "We will continue our fight till the BJP government rolls back its decision. We will intensify our fight in the coming days," they added.