Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday said, if necessary, the State Assembly would pass a resolution in the ensuing Budget session to exert pressure on the Centre to stop privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).Jagan, who arrived in the city to participate in the anniversary celebrations of Sri Sarada Peetham, held a meeting with the representatives of 14 employees unions of the VSP, which formed into Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Committee, during which he explained at length the efforts of his government to stop privatisation of the steel plant.
In the meeting that lasted for more than an hour, the Chief Minister amply made it clear that the plant comes under the purview of the Centre and the State government has no role in its privatisation. “Keeping in view the circumstances that led to the setting up of the plant at Visakhapatnam, we are trying to exert pressure on the Centre to stop its privatisation,’’ he said.
Stating that he had already written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the steps that need to be taken for revival of the plant, Jagan said the VSP is incurring an additional expenditure of `4,000 per tonne due to lack a dedicated captive iron ore mine. “We have urged the Prime Minister to allocate a captive mine in Odisha to the VSP as the neighbouring State has ample iron ore deposits.
The Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) has five iron mines in Odisha and their lease period has expired. The RINL has 51 per cent share in the mines, while the LIC, Centre and Odisha Mineral Development Corporation hold the remaining shares. We have to make efforts that the RINL will get iron ore from the mines with the renewal of its lease,” Jagan explained.
The State does not have ample iron ore deposits and the mineral available is of low grade and it is not adequate for the VSP. “Keeping in view all these factors, we have sought allocation of a captive mine in Odisha. As one of the mines there has been given permission by the forest department, we are hopeful that in the next four months, we will get a captive mine for the VSP,’’ he said.
With regard to his discussions with representatives of POSCO of South Korea, which were misrepresented by some sections, Jagan said, “I requested them to explore setting up a steel plant in Kadapa, Krishnapatnam or Bhavanapadu. I clearly told them that we have no objection in POSCO setting up its plant at any of the three places, while emphasising on Kadapa. Since they did not participate in bidding for Kadapa steel plant, they are keenly considering Krishnapatnam and Bhavanapadu. POSCO representatives even visited Krishnapatnam on Tuesday,” the Chief Minister said.
Rs 4,000 cr Additional per tonne expenditure incurred by the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant due to lack of a dedicated captive iron ore mine