The Andhra Pradesh High Court, on Thursday, has issued notices to the Central Government over the petition against privatisation of Vizag Steel Plant (VSP), a corporate entity of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL). A division bench of the high court, comprising of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ganga Rao, heard the petition filed by former Joint Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and retired IPS Officer, VV Lakshmi Narayana.
The petitioner’s counsel informed that the steel plant houses state-of-the-art infrastructure. He added that the livelihood of thousands of farmers, who parted with their lands for setting up the plant, will be infringed upon as most of them were not given permanent employment as assured by the company at the time of land acquisition. Suggesting an alternative to revive the plant, the petitioner requested the High Court to call for the records pertaining to the feasibilities, and proposals, for allotting the captive iron ore mines to the RINL. He further noted that this move will lead to a 50 percent cost-cutting for the RINL.
Addressing the bench, Advocate-General, S Sriram, noted that the Andhra Pradesh state government has already written a letter to the Centre suggesting several alternatives for the revival of the Vizag Steel Plant and requested the Union Cabinet to review its decision to sell the plant. After hearing the claims, the Jury has asked the Centre to file its response within four weeks on its decision to privatise the Vizag Steel Plant (VSP).
It may be recalled that earlier in March 2021, Mr. Narayana and the former CMD of RINL, Y Siva Sagar Rao, wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this letter, they said that the Vizag Steel Plant is very special for the people of Andhra Pradesh and its privatisation would take away a great piece of heritage from Vizag. It is further mentioned that with modern machine tools, the steel industry has generated Rs 43,700 crore in tax revenue for the Central Government.