Visakhapatnam Steel Plant Movement Reaches Delhi, Thousands of Workers Protest at Jantar Mantar

At present, there are 50,000 workers who depend upon the functioning of the steel plant for their livelihoods and will have to face consequences if the plant is privatised.

steel
Image: VisakhaUkku/Twitter

Intensifying the 170 days of relentless Visakha Ukku agitation against privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) in Andhra Pradesh, thousands of steel plant workers and trade union leaders protested at Jantar Mantar, in the national capital Delhi, on Monday as part of the two-day Maha Dharna under the Chalo Delhi campaign by employees’ union.

The protesting steel plan workers were joined by supporters from the capital in huge numbers, as they sloganeered against the privitisation of the steel plant amidst disturbances and heavy deployment of police at Jantar Mantar. The steel plant workers have said that they move forward with their plan to stage a protest at AP Bhavan on Tuesday.

Also read: Vizag Relay Hunger Strike Against Privatisation of Steel Plant Ongoing for more than 100 Days

The Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, (struggle committee to protect the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant), a joint action committee of all trade unions, has been spearheading the agitation against the BJP ruled Union government’s announcement of a 100 per cent disinvestment in the RINL, the corporate entity of VSP.

Various political parties, activists, former bureaucrats, and civil society organisation have extended their solidarity to the movement. Earlier the leaders of the movement had met with leaders of political parties which are not a part of the NDA to garner support for their struggle against the privatisation of the steel plant.

Read More: Visakha Steel Plant is a Profitable PSU- Why Govt. Wants to Privatise it?

The plant was built on 22,372 acres of land which was acquired forcibly, in the name of ‘public use’. Here, the farmers who had to part with their land were ultimately given the assurance that the Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) would create employment and social assets all around for the benefit of the people.

Thousands of workers have traveled from Andhra Pradesh to Delhi in the last few days to join the movement and bring the national limelight to the Union government’s decision which is bound to bear consequences for the workers. At present, there are 50,000 workers who depend upon the functioning of the steel plant for their livelihoods.

Previously, a hunger strike termed the Ukku Relay Hunger Strike was launched at Kurmannapalem junction by trade unions on February 12th to exert pressure on the Union government to withdraw its decision. The relay strike went on for more than a hundred days without any response from the Union government. So far rallies, roadblocks, public meetings, walkathons, and hunger strikes have been part of the protest against the Union’s decision.

Read more: Voices Against the Privatisation of Visakha Steel Plant

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