Vijayawada: YSRCP MPs staged a walkout from Rajya Sabha to protest against the Centre's move to privatize Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).

Speaking during a discussion on the Mines and Minerals (Development Regulation, Amendment Bill, here on Monday Parliamentary Party Leader V Vijayasai Reddy said that the party will not support the central government's decision to privatize the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, which has been a Navratna company for decades.

He slammed the central government's policy of privatizing the loss-making public sector enterprises instead of formulating necessary plans and measures for restructuring them. He stated that the public sector companies work towards fulfilling the social responsibility by providing employment opportunities to millions of people, unlike private sector companies which run with the sole aim of making a profit.

The bill laid by the central government clearly stated that it should get the right to auction the mines if the state government is unable to conduct the auction within the stipulated time. Vijayasai Reddy however said this is contrary to the federal spirit enshrined in the Constitution.

Further, he said seven years have passed since the bifurcation of the state and yet the Central Government has failed miserably in implementing the basic promises made in the Act.

Citing an example of a special railway zone for Visakhapatnam, he stated that it has not been materialized for seven years. Referring to Article 7 of the Constitution, he said there is a clear separation of powers between the Center and the States.

He lamented that the central government had brought in the bill violating the federal spirit and the rights of the State government.

The MP further suggested that the left-out mines should be handed over to private companies only after the allocation of mines to the public sector was completed. He said the bill includes provisions to allow the allocation of mines to private companies for commercial purposes.

Citing that the central government is proposing to get a share in the mining revenue instead of the existing method of paying royalty amount, he said that the proposal results in the loss of 50 mining blocks which will eventually fall into the hands of private companies.

He said the government is prepared to invest Rs 50,000 crore for the development of these blocks. He lamented Coal India Ltd is facing severe financial pressure due to non-receipt of Rs 17,000 crore due from power plants.

He appealed to the House to protect the future of thousands of employees working in the Visakha Steel Plant and other such government companies. Opposing the bill that is encouraging the privatization of public institutions, YSRCP MPs trooped out of the House.


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