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No Vizag steel privatisation for at least 4 weeks!

No Vizag steel privatisation for at least 4 weeks!

The Narendra Modi government has been firm on privatising the prestigious Visakhapatnam Steel Plant despite protests from the people, steel plant workers, political parties and even the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government.

However, the government has not made the first move in that direction yet, though there might be some activity in the Union ministry of steel level on calling for bids from private parties.

For now, the Centre has to stop all its moves for at least four weeks in this regard, as the Andhra Pradesh state high court has begun the hearing on a petition filed by former CBI joint director V V Lakshminarayana against the privatisation of steel plant.

The high court issued notices to the Centre to file a counter-affidavit against the petitions and posted the case to four weeks later. Till such time, there should be no moves to privatise the steel plant.

Senior advocates Adinarayana and Y Balaji, who filed the public interest litigation (PIL) petition on behalf of Lakshminaryana, argued the case against the privatisation.

The former CBI joint director said the decision to privatise the steel plant was a violation of the Constitutional rights of people who gave away their land for the plant.
 
He pointed out that in early 1970’s more than 16,000 farmers from 26 villages of 64 hamlets had given their 22,000 acres of land for the steel plant at a throw-away price of Rs 1200 per acre following an assurance that at least one person from each family would get a permanent job in the steel plant. 

“The displaced families were given Rehabilitation Cards (R-cards) and around 8,000 of them got petty jobs in the steel plant and still 7,624 families who gave their lands have not been provided the jobs. The decision of the Centre to privatise the plant dashed their hopes,” Lakshminarayana said. 

Out of the total land procured from farmers, the RINL is presently holding 19,703 acres after assigning 1,889 acres of land to Gangavaram Port, Railways and National Highways. Out of the 19,703 acres presently in the possession of RINL, about 10,300 acres are covered by the plant, offices, town ship etc., 6,503 acres of land is under the green belt and remaining 2,830 acres is reserved for future expansion purpose.  

“The land is held in the name of Government of India and not in the name of RINL. On the contrary, many of the Public Sector Undertakings have land in their own name. The value of this entire land of RINL is shown worth Rs.55.82 Corers only in the balance sheet. Whereas, the present market value of this land can be put at Rs 60,000 crore on a conservative side. 

“This under valuation of the land in the balance sheet would make it susceptible to attract buyers who may look at it as a good real estate venture and subsequently may tend to be interested in the slae of the land rather than running the steel plant,” he pointed out.

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Tags: Narendra Modi High Court Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy Vizag Steel