Ongole: 'Vizag Steel is a dream come true for Andhrites'
The people who have participated in the ‘Visakha Ukku- Andhrula Hakku’ movement allege that the Union government has neglected the Vizag Steel industry from the beginning, and now resorting to privatise it in the name of losses.
Ongole: The people who have participated in the 'Visakha Ukku- Andhrula Hakku' movement allege that the Union government has neglected the Vizag Steel industry from the beginning, and now resorting to privatise it in the name of losses.
They questioned when the private companies come forward for buying stakes in the Vizag Steel with confidence, why not the government believe in it. They said the Vizag Steel is a dream come true for the Andhra people and privatisation in the name of losses is not the real solution.
Korala Uday Bhaskar, who worked as the sarpanch for Kothapalli village in Peravali mandal of West Godavari district, said that he was a teenager when the agitation for the Vizag Steel happened. He said that responding to the call from people like Tenneti Viswanatham, Gouthu Latchanna, Kaloji Narayana Rao, Mullapaudi Harishchandra Prasad, Parakala Seshavataram, Vanka Satyanarayana, Gudivada Narasimha Rao, Pendyala Ramachandra Rangarao, Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu, Chaganti Ramakrishna and other State and local leaders, they also jumped into the movement and conducted awareness programmes in the nearby villages.
Uday Bhaskar said that the then merchants, businessmen in their area voluntarily shut down their businesses and extended their support to the people who were sitting in the relay hunger strike at Peravali. He said that the police arrested him also for participating in the agitation and shifted him to Tanuku police station, where they were released without registering any case, but with a warning to not participate in the protests again.
He said that the people stood united for the steel plant, and the jobs and development it could bring. He said that the Vizag Steel is a dream-come-true for every Andhra person and the government disinvesting in it is like killing it. He said that no private company will come forward if any industry is really incapable to make profits and suggested the government to make alternate arrangements for the Vizag Steel and let it have the resources.
Another man, Chaganti Mohan Rao of the same Kothapalli village recollected that freedom fighters Prathi Seshaiah and his wife Prathi Manemma led the 'Visakha Ukku- Andhrula Hakku' movement in their area. He said that the Vizag Steel movement is the first agitation that local people witnessed after the freedom fight and all of them participated in it for the jobs to the youth and income to the State. He said that all sections of the people volunteered to take part in the relay hunger strike, though the Brahmananda Reddy government tried to suppress the agitation. But the leaders like Amrutha Rao, Subbaratnam, Murthy Raju and others ensured that the movement was held peacefully, he added.
He remembered that though the government installed the pylon after the foundation, there was a delay for a few years to start the works and they conducted the agitation again. He recollected a scene in the film, 'Maro Charitra', in which the hero responds to the heroine, that they could marry after the dream of steel plant is realised.
Mohan Rao said that the decision to privatise the Vizag Steel is injustice towards the State, which is already in troubles after the bifurcation, and is an attempt to rupture the wound again. He said that the Union government has neglected the south Indian PSUs since the beginning, and never bothered to provide the mines to the Vizag Steel in all these years.
He said that if the government doesn't change its decision, a similar movement will be built in just a few days and the party that is planning to strengthen its routes in the State may have to reconsider its plans.