Durgapur News Desk, 03 March 2017: Just when the government is all set to finalize the modalities of the so called ‘Strategic Sale’ of Alloy Steels Plant (ASP), SAIL’s (Steel Authority of India Limited) special unit in Durgapur workers of the plant retorted to massive protest yesterday morning under the united leadership of CITU and INTUC.
On 28 February, SAIL has issued tender notification for the engagement of Asset valuer, Transaction adviser and legal adviser for ‘Strategic Disinvestment’ of three SAIL units at Durgapur, Salem and Bhadravati.
The resilient mood in the protest demonstration unanimously called for resisting government’s bid to sale ASP at any cost. Even workers loyal to INTTUC (labour wing of TMC) were seen in the protest agitation.
Workers, who were in night shift duty on 01 March, didn’t even bothered to return to their residence and participated in the protest demonstration on 02 March from 6 am.
Since August last year, CITU has been tirelessly trying to give momentum to this protest movement against government’s bid to sale the SAIL’s unit of Alloy Steel Plant in Durgapur.
One might remember that in the last week of September last year, Niti Ayog’s list of 22 public sector companies in which the government aims at reducing government ownership to below 51 per cent has name of the Durgapur-based Alloy Steels Pant.
During a regulatory filing in November last year, SAIL disclosed that the Government of India, Ministry of Steel, has communicated the ‘in-principle’ approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for strategic disinvestment of the three SAIL units of Durgapur, Salem and Bhadravati. SAIL further said: “Disinvestment of these units shall be to strategic buyer(s) to be identified through two-stage auction process as recommended by the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment.
A team compromising of CITU and INTUC leaders along with Durgapur MLA and ex-Durgapur MP met the Union Steel Minister, Chaudhury Birendra Singh, in New Delhi in December last year. The representative team explained the steel minister as to why selling ASP, Durgapur which in recent years has emerged as a key producer of special steels for the country’s strategic sectors like Defence & Railways among others would be suicidal for the sovereignty and security of the country.
During the protest demonstration yesterday morning, workers who were on their way to enter the ASP premises in morning shift were requested by the demonstrators not to go for work; to which the mood was that of positive in most cases.
Huge CISF personnel were deployed in the area and there was a mood of anxiety all around. However there was no incident of untoward incident.