Why is KCR Govt interested in bidding for Vizag Steel Plant?
The process of privatizing the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), which is also known as the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), has been ongoing for some time now. The Indian government has announced its plans to sell a 100% stake in the VSP, which has attracted interest from several domestic and international companies.
As of April 2023, the bidding process for the VSP is currently underway, with several companies submitting their bids for the plant. The deadline for submitting bids was extended multiple times, with the latest deadline being April 22, 2023. Some of the companies that have expressed interest in acquiring the VSP include ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, Tata Steel, and JSW Steel.
The government is expected to announce the winner of the bidding process after a thorough evaluation of the bids. However, the privatization of the VSP has been met with protests from the workers and employees of the plant, who have raised concerns over job losses and the impact on the local economy. The government has assured that it will ensure the welfare of the workers and that the VSP will continue to be a major source of employment in the region.
In a fresh turn of events, the bidder that came as a surprise for all is the Government of Telangana. The Singareni Collieries which is the coal extracting institution of the Telangana government posed as a bidder for RINL auction. This caused a spat between the Telangana government and the Andhra government. Following constant mockery by the Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) of Andhra and its current under-developed situation has been fuelling the fire in YSR Congress Party which is in the government in the state and is led by its chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
Following Telangana’s bid, the Centre recently said that the Union Government may rethink its plans to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and is not in a hurry to do so. The Centre said: “We want to strengthen RINL, not privatise it completely. The idea is to make it fully efficient and operational.” Given how the political fall-out between the BRS and the BJP is in Telangana right now, it is clear that the BJP will halt or derail any plans or projects that BRS will get into.
And, looks like this bidding war for the Vizag Steel Plant is actually a political war between the BJP and BRS which may continue for a while. But, the real loser amidst all of this, is the state of Andhra Pradesh, which is neither asking for development nor is getting any central funds. It is in dire straits and may continue to remain so until the BJP can control its ally, YSRCP.
TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.