Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], July 24 (ANI): TDP National President and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday extended his party's total support to the 'Save Visakha Steel' agitation and reiterated that his party's elected representatives would be ever ready to resign from their posts for the sake of protecting the 'prestigious' steel plant in the port city.
Naidu on Friday wrote a letter to the Convenor of the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, saying that their continued struggle for saving the steel plant despite many hurdles and hindrances was laudable. It was important that Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and his party should join the steel plant agitation and lead it from the front lines.
The TDP termed it as 'heartwarming' to see the consistent and united protests being carried out against privatisation of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), commonly known as Visakha Steel, under the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee.
The RINL Steel Plant, Visakhapatnam, was achieved through a long drawn struggle by the Telugu people who, in the 1960s, rose above region, religion and caste to unite for the cause under the slogan 'Visakha Ukku-Andhrula Hakku' (Visakha Steel - birthright of Andhras).
Recalling the sacrifices made by steel plant agitators, Naidu said, "In spite of many hurdles, the steel plant was built and dedicated to the nation in 1992. Since the plant had accumulated losses to the tune of about Rs 4,000 crore by 2000, there was a proposal to privatise the plant by the then Government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee."
"Upon the request of the then Government of Andhra Pradesh and my personal request, the Government of India provided a restructuring package of Rs. 1,333 crore, which helped to turn the plant profitable," he added.
Naidu further said that he would pledge his complete support to the struggle to save Visakha Steel Plant under the leadership of the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee.
Simultaneously, it was imperative that the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has to join, support and lead the struggle from the forefront, said Naidu in his letter.
"Only our collective and united struggle will save the steel plant from the privatisation move," he added. (ANI)