Visakhapatnam: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has proposed to sell some part of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant's land and inject the amount realized into the system to make the unit viable and profitable.

"The plant presently possesses 20 thousand acres of land, out of which only seven thousand acres are being used at this point in time. The administration can build layouts on the excess land, sell the same and use the money for injecting huge money into the plant's system. As it is under the jurisdiction of the state government, we will approve the plant's application for land use conversion," Jagan said.

Chief Minister was interacting with leaders of different trade unions. He assured them that the state government will continue to support them until the idea of privatization is scrapped.

Elaborating on the road map, he said the steel plant presently has a debt of Rs 22,000 crores and some banks have extended loans even at 14 % of interest.

"Due to the lack of dedicated mines, the plant has to spend Rs 4,000 more on every tonne. Keeping this in mind, we suggested a road map for the plant's revival. I have requested the central government to allocate mines in Odisha to our plant. That would reduce the financial expenditure considerably. Very few mines are located in AP. Those which exist are also very low grade and definitely cannot cope with the plant's mammoth capacity of producing 7.3 million per year. While this is one part of the solution, converting the loans extended by banks at exorbitant interest rates into equity could be another," he said.

The CM noted that RINL has 5 mines in Odisha under EIL's name, but their contracts have lapsed. "This must be renewed," he said.

Hitting out at the opposition, he said some senior politicians are alleging that he did not write a letter to the PM. "The letter is in the public domain. If needed, I request you to send an acknowledgment of the letter to Chandrababu Naidu. All these individuals who are leveling such scandalous and false allegations, couldn't even think of writing a letter to the PM," he said.

Urging state BJP leaders to pile pressure on central leadership, the CM said they could help convince their government to revoke the decision.

"We will also continue talks at the government and bureaucratic level. People are spreading all sorts of things about POSCO as well. It is true that representatives of the company met me. I asked them to set up a factory in Krishnapatnam, Bhavanapadu, or Kadapa and not Visakhapatnam. They even visited Krishnapatnam today. Another company coming to our state will only be beneficial for us, considering the number of jobs this will create," he said.

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