Caption: VSP workers staging protest on Saturday.
Lakkoju Nagesh Babu
Visakhapatnam, May 22:
The relay hunger strike being observed by the VSP workers against the Centre’s decision to privatise the steel giant entered the 100th day on Saturday.
To mark the occasion, the steel plant employees, under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee for protection of steel plant, staged a protest at Kurmannapalem holding placards and flags. They vowed to continue the agitation till the Centre withdraws its decision.
The workers launched the relay hunger strike on February 12 to mount pressure on the BJP-led NDA government at Centre to give up the plan. The agitation got support from all and it spreaded to other parts of the State also.
The workers staged dharnas, rallies, and held meetings as part of their agitation to draw the Centre’s attention. Despite the agitation for long, the Centre remained unmoved and the workers failed to get any positive response from the Centre.
The agitation gained momentum within days of its launch due to support by various organisations, political parties and all sections of society.
Visakha north MLA of TDP, Ganta Srinivasa Rao , quit his post to take active part in the agitation, while another TDP leader Palla Srinivasa Rao observed indefinite fast which was later foiled by the police.
Similarly, Rajya Sabha member and YSRCP leader V. Vijaya Sai Reddy undertook padayatra seeking public support to the genuine cause.
The agitation was at its peak during the campaign for the GVMC elections with parties even making the issue as one of the poll planks to win the favour of voters.
However, the intensity that was seen before the elections, is missing now with parties, but for the Left, hardly focussing on the issue. No serious effort is being made by the parties to mount pressure on the Centre to change its stand.
Resolution in Assembly
The YSRCP, which extended support to the stir and promised to stand by the agitating workers, assured the latter of passing a resolution in the Assembly. As promised, the YSRCP government, during the one-day budget session on May 20, passed a resolution against privatisation of the steel plant, the pride of Andhra Pradesh.
Trade unions and other organisations hailed the passing of resolution in Assembly.