Visakhapatnam: Post-polls, unions wary of support of parties

Steel getting readied at Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited in Visakhapatnam
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Steel getting readied at Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited in Visakhapatnam

Highlights

  • Against the backdrop of important civic body election, main political parties competed with one another to show their commitment to the cause
  • Employee leaders ask what is the purpose of writing letters to the Centre when there is scant response

Visakhapatnam: With civic polls coming to a close, the focus is now shifted to the involvement of political parties in the Ukku stir and continuation of their support to the protest that has now reached a new level.

Ever since the civic poll schedule was released by the State Election Commission (SEC), all political parties vied with one another to gain political advantage by bringing the Ukku movement to the fore.

Apart from participating in the protest, a former TDP MLA went on an indefinite hunger strike that lasted for almost a week.

Meanwhile, the ruling party YSRCP not only extended support to the agitation but also took out a 'padayatra' that stretched up to 25-km. The YSRCP leaders, however, gave an assurance to Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee members that their support will continue until the Union government withdraws its decision on 100 per cent disinvestment of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).

When Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman made it clear that privatisation of VSP is inevitable and it is meant to put the plant back on a profitable track, employees of the VSP express concern over the long-term support of the political parties who have so far joined hands with them in the stir. Dasari Suresh, who is working as general foreman at Light and Medium Merchant Mill, VSP, says, "The letter written by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has not stopped the Centre from going ahead with its privatisation plans. To an extent, the trade unions' agitation has been instrumental in converting the stir into people's fight. Going forward, it will take a new form altogether if the protest gets intensified."

A section of the VSP employees is of the opinion that the exercise of writing a letter to the Union government is a 'mere' eye wash. Sharing his views, employee of VSP and vice-president of BC Employees' Federation Undavalli Srinivasa Rao says, "Even for the initial letter forwarded by the Chief Minister, there was no response from the Centre. What is the point in dashing another one? Those who have been protesting for over a month to save the plant from privatisation are left with no real back up now. The issue needs to be taken to a much serious level with the support of the MPs across Andhra Pradesh and other states as well."

In order to exert pressure on Union government, a majority of employees demand that the MPs should tender resignation from their posts.

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