Strike continues in Singareni, VSP for second day


by IANS | Tue, Mar 29, 2022, 02:28 PM

Hyderabad/Amaravati, March 29 (IANS) Banking services and production of coal and steel in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh remained affected on Tuesday, the second day of the two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions against the Central government's policies.

Strike by employees in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) and Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) continued.

Banking services in public sector in both the Telugu states also remained affected for the second consecutive day.

Protesting against the government's plan to privatise public sector banks, as well as the Banking Laws Amendment Bill 2021, bank employees stayed away from duties. They staged protest demonstrations in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and other cities and towns.

Various trade unions took out rallies to protest the Central government's policies affecting workers, employees and farmers. Leaders of the Left and other opposition parties led the protests.

Protests by trade unions and all political parties barring BJP continued in Visakhapatnam against the Centre's move to privatise VSP.

Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee (VUPPC), which is spearheading the movement against privatisation, has called for the two-day strike.

VUPPC leaders have warned the Centre against going ahead with the privatisation plan. They vowed to continue the protest till the Central government takes back its decision to privatise the plant.

"We will not allow privatisation of VSP as it was achieved after many sacrifices by the people," said VUPPC chairman Narasinga Rao.

The workers have been protesting since February 2021 after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had given its approval for 100 per cent strategic sale/privatisation of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) along with its joint ventures and subsidiaries.

RINL is the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant also known as Vizag Steel Plant.

In July, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) decided to hire legal and transaction advisors to prepare a roadmap for privatisation.

Coal production in the state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana was hit as the employees struck the work to oppose the Centre's move to auction four coal blocks.

With the majority of 42,000 workers participating in the strike, coal extraction was affected in all 23 underground and 19 open cast mines.

Major trade union Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) affiliated to ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has backed the strike called by INTUC, AITUC, CITU and other central trade unions. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BSM), however, is not part of the protest.

This is the second strike in SCCL in less than four months. In December last year, the employees had observed three-day strike to oppose the Centre's move to auction four coal blocks.

The coal ministry proposes to auction Sattupally open cast Block-3 in Khammam district, Sravanpally open cast Block-3 in Asifabad district, Koya Gudem opencast Block-3 in Bhadradri Kothagudem, and Kalyanakhani underground Block-6 in Mancherial district.

The trade unions have threatened an indefinite strike if the Centre goes ahead with the process of calling tenders for the auction.

The government of Telangana is also strongly opposing the move. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop auctioning of four coal blocks of SCCL.

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