Com. Narasinga Rao,
Steel Struggle committee
More than 1000 steel workers participated in two days of Maha Dharna on 2nd and 3rd August 2021 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi against the proposed sale of the Vizag Steel Plant.
More than 1000 steel workers participated in two days of Maha Dharna on 2nd and 3rd August 2021 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. BJP Government at Center created several hurdles to stop the protest by using the police force. Visakhapatnam Steel Plant workers, with strong determination to protect RINL as a Public Sector, defeated all the hurdles and successfully ventilated their demand and drew the attention of all the political parties. The act of government is against the spirit of Supreme Court which commented that in democracy everyone has a right to question the policies of the government. The struggle committee expressed its gratitude to all the political parties and trade unions who supported their cause and took part in two days of Maha Dharna in Delhi.
Even though the permission was obtained for organizing the Maha Dharna from the Delhi Police, the BJP Government used police force and stalled workers in railway stations for hours together, forced and cautioned all hotel managements not to allot any rooms or cancel all the rooms if already booked for steel workers, who reached Delhi from Visakhapatnam. Police threatened the workers that they will be taken into custody if they participate in dharna, collected workers ID cards and phone numbers and continuously called them and threatened workers not to participate. Police intensified surveillance around hotels and at Jantar Mantar.
When more than 1000 workers reached Jantar Mantar from different routes and assembled and told police that they will continue their struggle against the privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant even if they were arrested. After the intervention of national trade union leaders, police took a step back and allowed the dharna. The commitment of workers was strong and even in the heavy rain on 2nd August several trade union leaders and parliament members attended the Maha Dharna and expressed their solidarity to the struggling steel workers.
Several national leaders from different central trade unions and political parties visited and extended their solidarity to the struggle against the sale of Vizag Steel Plant (RINL). They reiterated that the government is only a custodian of public assets and it does not have any right to sell away public assets. If the BJP Government still wants to go ahead, the people will change the custodian itself.
Com. Tapan Sen, General Secretary of CITU in his address congratulated the Visakhapatnam Steel workers for their commitment in reaching Jantar Mantar, overcoming all the hurdles created by the Modi Government. He cautioned the government at the center to withdraw the process of strategic sale of RINL, otherwise a nationwide protest will be launched in near future. Workers won’t allow any one inside the factory if the government puts deaf ear to their demand. He asked the workers to be on sustained struggle path till we reach the goal and directed them to make this struggle as people’s movement by educating all the public in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Com. Amarjit Kaur, General Secretary of AITUC, while addressing the gathering, aggressively cautioned the BJP government that the RINL was not established like other industries; it is the pride of people of United Andhra Pradesh and established only after 32 lives were sacrificed in the struggle of Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku. If the BJP government failed to withdraw the decision of strategic sale of Vizag Steel Plant, a big mass movement will rise to stop 100% sale of Vizag Steel Plant. Com. Kareem, CPM Leader of Rajya Sabha explained Kerala experience of not allowing sale of any central government undertaking to private people and taking over the shares of the central government undertakings by the state government, including that of Hindustan News Print Ltd. He also appealed to the Vizag steel workers to wage do or die struggle against the central government.
In two days of struggle at Delhi, several leaders from different central trade unions, political and mass organizations visited Maha Dharna. Eminent leader from different organizations including Com. Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary CPIM, Com. B V Raghavulu, CPIM politburo member, Shri Vijayasai Reddy, YSRCP parliamentary party leader, Visakhapatnam MP Shri MVV Satyannarayana of YSRCP, Smt. Satyavati MP from Anakaplli constituency and several other YSRCP MPs, Shri K Rammohan Naidu, MP from Telugu Desam Party, Com. E Karim with 7 Left MPs, Com. Narayana, CPI national Leader, Com. P Madhu of CPIM and Com. Ramakrishna of CPI from Andhra Pradesh, Shri Hanumantha Rao and Suresh from Congress and leaders from AAP and RLD participated. Com. Punyavati from AIDWA, Com. B Venkat from AIAWU, Com. Vijjukrishnan from AIKS, Com. Ishi Gosh from SFI participated and expressed their solidarity.
The Visakha steel struggle committee expresses its thanks to all the above leaders for their unconditional support. Struggle committee also expresses its thanks to CITU Telangana state committee for their support and for greeting the steel workers in railway stations. Protest programmes have been conducted throughout Andhra Pradesh and especially in Visakhapatnam from 1st to 3rd August in solidarity with Vizag Steel agitation.
The Struggle committee decided to intensify the struggle and has taken a decision to organise 10 Km long Human Chain covering Industrial area on 29th August 2021 as the Relay Hunger fast by steel workers completes 200 days on 30th of August 2021.