Visakhapatnam: CPM on Thursday urged the Andhra Pradesh government to oppose the Centre’s proposal of a joint venture with South Korea-based POSCO for the Visakhapatnam steel plant.
CPM State secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao said the employees and workers of plant observed a total bandh in Gajuwaka on Wednesday to protest this. “There were reports that the Union Steel Minister met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy regarding this. The Union Minister, who visited the steel plant on November 9, identified 4,000 acres as POSCO land on the plant’s premises. Even AP Industries Minister Goutham Reddy said the State government was considering the agreement with POSCO. We vehemently oppose such deals as POSCO has a history of corruption and fraud,” he alleged.
Rao recalled that POSCO, in 2005, entered into an agreement with the Odisha government to construct a steel plant, but did not honour the agreement. In 2008, the same story was repeated in West Bengal. “It is shocking that POSCO has the audacity to say it will construct a steel plant on the premises of the existing Visakhapatnam plant. Never before did a private company construct another factory on the premises of a public sector industry in India. It is nothing but a conspiracy of BJP and POSCO to grab the rich Visakhapatnam steel plant,” Rao said.
Noting that no private steel plant was constructed for the last 10 years, he said the State and Centre failed to allot captive iron ore mines for the steel plant in the last three decades deliberately. Only the public sector steel plants did well, while the private sector’s Essar and Bhushan plants were sold after incurring losses, Rao said. He demanded that the joint venture proposal with POSCO be dropped immediately.