Visakhapatnam: Amidst a wave of protests in the city against the Centre's decision to privatize the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), the Steel Employee Union, affiliated to CITU, served a strike notice to the management of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) - the corporate entity of the plant - on 11 March.

In the 14-day notice addressed to the chairman and managing director of RINL, the union demanded the repeal of the approval accorded on 27 January 2021 by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for 100 per cent strategic sale of RINL. The union also demanded the scrapping of the inter-secretaries group constituted to study the strategic sale, the cancellation of the MoU signed with POSCO on 23 October 2019 for the construction of an integrated steel plant, suspension of the recently concluded MoU with NBCC on redevelopment and monetization of land parcels at Maddilapalem in Visakhapatnam city, and permanent employment for all the left-out R-card holders.

The union leaders said they would go on strike on or after 25 March. Leaders of most of the steel plant employees' unions signed the strike notice.

Meanwhile, the relay hunger strike launched by Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee resumed on Thursday morning. Most of the employees of the plant and other trade unions took part and raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The employees thanked Telangana IT minister K.T Rama Rao, actor Chinranjeevi, Telangana MLA Seethakka and Swamy Swaroopanandendra Maha Swamy for raising their voice against the Centre's move to privatize the plant. The protesting employees also garlanded the portrait of Telangana minister KTR for his support to the ongoing agitation.

Chalking out its next programme, the committee said the employees and their families would stage a mass dharna at the main gate of the steel plant on 20 March while organizations and others would join another dharna on 23 and 28 March.

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