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RINL staff set up Modi Mall to mark 500th day of protest

Assert to continue their fight till Centre withdraws the decision to privatise Vizag Steel Plant

RINL staff set up Modi Mall to mark 500th day of protest

Visakhapatnam: In a novel protest, the agitating employees of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Vizag Steel Plant, to mark 500th day of their peaceful strike, set up a 'Modi Mall' to sell vegetables and fruits at a throwaway price on Sunday. The completion of 500th day of protest since the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) through a tweet disclosed the clearance of the decision by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for the disinvestment of 100 per cent shareholding in RINL, its joint ventures and subsidiaries, was marked by rallies, meetings and dharnas at Kurmannapalem, Gajuwaka and various parts of the city.

RINL recognised Union General Secretary D Adinarayana, CITU leader J Ayodharam and Visakha Steel Employees' Congress General Secretary Mantri Rajasekhar said the steel plant itself was born through a prolonged struggle leading to death of 32 agitators in multiple police firing incidents and they would continue their fight till the Modi-led NDA government withdrew the decision to privatise RINL.

RINL, an unlisted company, owns VSP which has expanded its capacity from three million tonnes to 7.3 million tonnes in two phases with a total investment of Rs 12,300 crore through internal accruals and bank loans.

The disinvestment decision later led to putting in cold storage the efforts to strike a deal for a joint venture greenfield high-end steel manufacturing facility by Korean steel giant POSCO on the surplus lands of RINL. The steel plant has a land bank of 20,000 acres but it shells down a heavy amount towards its production cost as unlike JIndal Steel, Tata Steel and SAIL, it does not have captive iron ore and coal mines to meet its raw material requirement. Cutting across their affiliations, all the trade unions of RINL are spearheading anti-privatisation agitation under the banner of Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Samiti.

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