In what could be the final attempt to prevent strategic disinvestment of the PSU, the officers’ organisation of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant has sought its re-merger with Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).
Katam SS Chandra Rao, who has been elected as the president of Steel Executives’ Association (SEA), the recognised body to vouch the cause of 4,600 officers, told www.indianpsu.com that their main promise to the voters was to fight for putting pressure on the authorities for re-merger of RINL and SAIL. The entire elected body of SEA including its vice-president Chandra Venkateswara Rao, general secretary K. V. D. Prasad, joint secretary Ramavath Narasimha and treasurer Patnala Lokesh are unanimous in their resolve to fight against privatisation and retain RINL in the public sector by merging with SAIL. Both the PSUs are under the same ministry and RINL will be benefited due to mines owned by SAIL, thereby providing it the much-needed raw material security.
SAIL will also stand to be benefitted because of RINLs workforce and future prospects to undertake further expansion, making use of its surplus lands.
Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, which was set up after the ‘Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku’ agitation was separated from SAIL in 1982. VSP has undergone expansion of capacity to 7.3 million tonnes with an investment of Rs.16,700 crore in recent years. Government of India is in the process of 100 per cent privatisation by appointing valuers and legal advisors notwithstanding opposition by the employees and the Andhra Pradesh Government, which adopted a resolution unanimously in the State Legislative Assembly.
They also cited recent developments like the Supreme Court verdict on 18.11.2021 in National Confederation of Officers’ Association (NCOA) Vis Hindustan Zinc (HZL) case with regard to stake sale in HZL, halting of BPCL disinvestment and recent guidelines issued by GOI that PSU boards are empowered to decisions on acquisitions and disinvestments.
General Secretary of the body, K. V. D. Prasad said “in this context we have the ray of hope that re-merger with SAIL is quite possible, if not merger of RINL with NMDC, KIOCL and MECON. Employees of Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited and a section of unions of RINL have also represented to the Ministry of Steel to explore mega merger as a way out. Their contention is that the creation of a mega steel public sector unit will fetch several dividends by ensuring reduction in productivity cost, higher margins, raw material security and rational deployment of man power to face global competition.
SEA has resolved to press for merger of RINL and SAIL by representing the MPs, Ministers, local leaders, NITI Aayog, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Steel, DIPAM and others along with the support of associations like National Confederation of Officers’ Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings (NCOA) and Steel Employees’ Federation of India (SEFI).